Sunday, December 4, 2011

I hate to agree with the religious guys, but . . .

This story in today's NY Times is about whether a church in the Bronx should be allowed to hold services in a public school. The issue will soon be decided by NY's supreme court.

The church began in a halfway house. When it outgrew the facility, it applied to hold meetings and services at a nearby public school. There are 48 members in this church.

The NYC Board of Ed (which is always staffed by a bunch of clucks, as if this is dictated by charter) told the church it cannot hold "services" in the public school because if it did, the school would "become a church" while the services were taking place. This is a ridiculous notion. They're not moving in. They're just holding a meeting. What they call it is their business.

I know, I know. It's weird that I'm arguing for the church here. But I have no problem with this church meeting in a public school. Anyone is allowed to meet there. Atheists can meet there, gay organizations can meet there. So why not this church? I see no reason to deny them accommodation. It's not like they'll be raping kids during these services. (At least, I don't think they're Romans.) The Board actually says that the church can hold meetings and provide religious instruction there. It just can't hold a "church service".

Who cares what magic event the church members think is taking place during their meetings? It's crazy to tell them they can't meet there if they say certain magic words. It's all unicorn talk, just meaningless sounds, after all. It's a non-issue. This is just a club that wants to meet in a room to do their clubby thing. They could just as well be astrologers or magicians or cosmetologists. No special magic happens when someone says they're "holding a service". If they want to waste their time and call it a "service", who cares?

These people simply want access to a public space. I don't see a problem here. And yes, I know all the wrong people are pushing this issue for all the wrong reasons. But that doesn't mean the church should be denied access to the school. Besides, dog forbid we give Christians a new reason to cry "victim!" I say let them chant their antiquated "holy" words all they want. They're only words.

What do you think?