Anyone who sets fire to a church is showing a lack of respect not only for religion, but for the people who belong to that church and rely on the services that church provides. Even though a church is probably insured and can be rebuilt, it upsets and inconveniences the many parishioners, and makes them fearful that anyone could be so heartless as to burn a church down.
Well, it depends. If burning down a house the same size would give you a life sentence, then sure- churches should be treated the same. If someone dies in the church then maybe- religious buildings do not deserve special treatment; only the same treatment as a house (with the same number of people inside).
I think that a better punishment would be to make the arsonist help rebuild the church: this would benefit society and not guzzle up tax money like prisons do. So no: church arson is punishable by the same sentence as normal (non-church) arson.
A church is just a building to those who set it on fire. It is just a building to the government and should be treated as so. No religious building should be treated as more than just a building when it comes to someone vandalizing or burning it. But, I feel like part of an arson's punishment should be to help rebuild anything they burn down, including a church.
Being accused and found guilty of arson on a church, should not carry any more greater punishment than arson on any other type of building. We can't determine if a church is more valuable than a school or day care facility. The punishment for Arson should be the same across the board and should have severe penalties.
Only a truly awful or demented person would burn down a church. However, I don't think church arson warrants life in prison. I don't mean to suggest that church arson isn't a despicable crime and shouldn't be punished harshly, only to suggest that life imprisonment should be reserved for crimes upon persons and not property.
I do not believe church arson (on its own) should be punishable by life in prison. Arson should be charged the same (on its own) regardless of what type of building they set on fire, it shouldn't make a difference if it was a church. We don't need to throw people in jail for life for such a crime.