I have no idea what your anecdotal story has to do with this. But Notre Dame isn’t just a cathedral. It’s one of the greatest architectural wonders of Europe. The art held on the inside and depicted on the outside walls is priceless. It literally is at the center of Paris. Emperors have been crowned there. This isn’t about “sticking it to some institution” that you disagree with. It’s about (1) showing basic respect and empathy to humans living in the county that was our country’s first ally and (2) giving value to religion, history, and art. Sure, we could look at everything pessimistically. We could dismiss the Statue of Liberty as a hunk of metal that represents a corrupt and sometimes destructive institution. The Salt Lake Temple is tons of granite stone that represents an institution of patrimony. We could ignore the blood, sweat, and tears of those who built it as foolish and naive clowns brainwashed by a conman. But why do that? We could dismiss the colosseum, the Mayan temples, and the Pyramids of Giza as old lousy pieces of stone that represented ridiculous religious beliefs and cheap entertainment. Horrific scenes of depravity and cruelty occurred at these places. Shouldn’t we want to wipe them clean from the map? But what kind of humans would we be? What kind of life would that provide us? I don’t expect you to change. But please understand, most humans on this planet, especially the nonreligious (France is one of the most secular nations on earth) see value in Notre Dame Cathedral and are not cynical and pessimistic towards culture, as you are. Maybe your anecdotal experience would serve you better by focusing on the positives of human interaction rather than the negative. I’m sure surviving your ordeal required the sacrifice and kindness of fellow humans.