Sunday, 9 August 2009

Preferential Treatment


Today I saw a phenomenon that I'm sure many of you have seen as well. Passing by a church, there were tons of cars illegally parked on the street, choking down traffic and making it more dangerous to drive that particular street. Except, on Sunday, it's not illegal. Here, we have the city that I live in changing the rules specifically for churches and giving preferential treatment.

Of course, it's not just my city, but it happens all over the country. Cities and towns, counties and districts, parishes, etc. - they all give special treatment to churches to facilitate parking in illegal manners simply because it is Sunday. In Washington DC, for instance, it gets so bad that cars completely block roads, and the city turns a blind eye. This is special treatment, and it violates the separation of church and state, because cities would not be so kind to other, non-religious or secular groups wanting the same treatment.

The kicker of it is that this particular church is surrounded by a very large lot of land that is beautifully manicured. In fact, they could put a parking lot on their land that would house most of the cars, at least. Those cars could also park legally on side streets or in a public lot that is only 2 blocks away or so. There are options besides creating a more dangerous road for other drivers and giving special treatment to a specific group from a specific religion.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are correct. This is wrong.

Billyist said...

Kind of reminds me of that scene in I <3 huckabees where a family tries to understand how fossil fuels, since they were given to us by Jesus, could possibly be bad.

Robert Madewell said...

More that that! The churches own huge tracts of land, rake in billions of $$$ and don't pay taxes. That is preferential.

Compassionate Heathen said...

yup, i literally just waited through traffic caused by an evening service moments before reading your post. the church people had even put out orange cones blocking out half the road to accommodate a huge RV with some traveling evangelical person's name on the side. it sucked.

The Gay Species said...

Your not referring to San Francisco, are you. Dolores Street, Divisadero Street, etc. etc.? Perhaps our airhead mayor should enforce the constitution, not chase donuts away.

GCT said...

TGS,
Welcome.

No, I don't live in SF. I'm actually on the other coast.

The Gay Species said...

I'm a big fan, and we can be bi-coastal.

GCT said...

LOLZ.

Volly said...

This is in no way a defense of megachurches and the way they frequently intrude into the surrounding communities, traffic-wise. But, having been in administrative, behind-the-scenes positions at more than one church, I can honestly say that installing, paving and maintaining a large parking area is insanely expensive. Look at any church's budget and they would sooner construct a whole new building and send the entire congregation on a mission trip for a year than try to tackle parking. That's one reason why you will frequently see churches take over an abandoned big-box type store in a run-down shopping area -- because they won't have to deal with the parking issue. They may be paying outrageous amounts of money to the owner of the strip mall, but it's nothing compared to the cost of obtaining all the needed permits, haggling with various companies to measure and survey the land, dig it up, grade it, truck in gravel, pour cement or asphalt, line it, maintain it, and then find volunteers to spend their Sunday mornings trying to direct the drivers, who unfailingly leave their brains at home for the drive to church. Church people DO NOT know how to park. It's chaos every Sunday.

Some churches have shuttle buses. Still a traffic tie-up but a somewhat more environmentally sound and considerate alternative.

Modusoperandi said...

volly "Church people DO NOT know how to park."
That seems odd. I thought Jesus was their copilot.

GCT said...

I'm not seeing the problem here Volly. It's the cost of business, and many other businesses do it.

Anonymous said...

But a church is not a business.

GCT said...

For the purposes of what it does, we can consider it to be one. I believe that many churches are incorporated anyway.

Anonymous said...

Maybe some of the megachurches are, but your general run of the mill church is not incorporated in any way.

GCT said...

False. Most churches are incorporated.

It matters not though. What matters is how they run things and how they ought to run things. They're getting a free ride from the city/town/state/etc. where they reside, and they have become accustomed to it. There's no good reason to give them this preferred status. If they have to expend some energy in order to abide by the laws that everyone else has to follow, then that's just the price of business. Any other group would have to follow the laws of the town/city/state/etc. and there's no reason to exclude churches.

ethinethin said...

Yes but how dare you quote a Baptist website. They're not true christians, so you can't trust anything they say.

Anonymous said...

If I quoted to you something by a Christian scientist, you'd come back with, "Yeah, but they're a 'Christian' scientist." How is that any different that saying someone is not a true Christian? Somebody doing something in Christ's name does not necessarily mean it is truly done so. The Baptist doctrine, is probably the most bible-based actually, so I'd never say that about them, but just get so tired of you beating the dead horse of "true christianity."

Tyler said...

Anon, meet your sense of humor. Sense of humor, meet...

Shit. It ran away screaming.

ethinethin said...

If I quoted to you something by a Christian scientist, you'd come back with, "Yeah, but they're a 'Christian' scientist."

I would only say that if they were trying to present religion as science. The best christian scientists are the ones that draw the line between science and religion, like DonExodus on youtube. Until I saw his video explaining why he was a christian, I had no idea he was religious.

GCT said...

"If I quoted to you something by a Christian scientist, you'd come back with, "Yeah, but they're a 'Christian' scientist." How is that any different that saying someone is not a true Christian?"

There's a method for determining good science from bad, but there is no similar method for Xianity. If a "Xian" scientist ignores the scientific method in favor of deference to the Bible, then we can rightly say that this person's "science" is bad, because it has not followed the correct procedures. If one believes something different from you, you have no recourse to claim they are not as Xian as you are.

"...tired of you beating the dead horse of "true christianity.""

It's not a dead horse so long as Xians continue to try and breathe life into that horse by continually using that fallacy.

The Gay Species said...

Not to get "technical," but Jesus taught NO virtues. The virtues (from the Greek arete and Latin virtus) cannot be found in the New or Old Testament. Because Jesus was not an ethicist. He was a rebellious rabbi, whose only contact -- if scripture is to be believed -- with Gentiles was his healing of the Roman Centurion's beloved (yes, male lover). Not that Jesus would "visit" the Centurion's Beloved (in Greek, "pais," which means "young male lover of men"), but the authors of the New Testament wrote in Greek, not Aramaic (which Jesus is thought to have spoke, much less Hebrew).

So, arete or virtue, or more accurately "personal excellence" was wholly foreign to Jesus, because it was Plato and Aristotle's ethics that mention arete, not the clueless Palestinian hippie.