Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Not in my back yard!
by Charlie Leck

In a town near us – a town we pretty much consider our own, even though we don’t live there – a group of churchmen want to build a modest building where they can meet and worship regularly. So far, they’ve been refused that right because the area where they want to build is said to be zoned as residential.

Mind you, it’s not two blocks from Ground Zero but the comparison with the request in Manhattan, by a group of Muslims, is quite striking.

Is it a question of freedom of religion – both here, that is, and in Manhattan?

Or is it, as my blogging friend, Tony, says, a question of insensitivity and “riding rough shod over our neighbors?”

Now, mind you further, this structure the Unitarian Universalist Society wants to build out here would face a frontage road that runs alongside a busy Interstate Highway. It’s not as if they are trying to build their church deep inside some gated community. Further, there really isn’t anywhere else in this village to build a church. Churches are regularly built in residential neighborhoods. Who builds community churches in industrial developments? Or, in shopping centers?

This massive question of religious freedom is complicated.

“Why two blocks from Ground Zero?” That is the question many people raise in Manhattan.

“Why in my neighborhood?” That is the question in this lovely little town by the lake.

[A local newspaper story about this controversy can be found here!]


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