Is banning places of worship okay?

Comments

Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has stated that communities have a right to ban Islamic mosques.

And he is dead serious.

He says that it is okay to ban the building of mosques because some Islamic groups would like to see laws bases on the Koran, just as some Christian groups would like to laws based on the Bible, and people of other faiths would like to see laws based on their holy books.

He insists that banning mosques is not a form of religious discrimination because some fundamentalist Islamic sects believe that the law of the Koran should be the law of the land.

We all know that people of some faiths in almost all nations, including ours, believe that the laws of their nations should be based on their fundamentalist beliefs. You have only to turn on your television set and tune to any of several channels to see that. But those people are in the minority in all faiths.

So, should religions which contain fundamentalist groups which hold views that the majority find "extreme" though understandable, be banned from building places of worship in this country (or any other country) because of the beliefs of those fundamentalists?

Is it, then, "wrong" in some way to hold those fundamentalist beliefs?

Does the thinking of presidential candidate Herman Cain make any sense to you?

If he is right, and it is proper to ban mosques, then is it proper to ban synagogues and churches?

Should we then complain if other countries decide to ban Christian churches if we begin banning mosques?

Is there some other important point that needs to be made?

Some other important question that should be asked?

One other question: Would it surprise you to discover that Israeli law is based, in part, upon the very same Sharia Law (and many, many other things, of course) that presidential candidate Herman Cain so fears?

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Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

I thought we had freedom of religion here. There is a neighborhood in Phoenix trying to stop an LDS Temple from being built. What else are 'they' going to try and stop? Seems like someone is always trying to stop something. How about the real crimes? Like the man that shot the people in Tucson? How much of our money has been spent with all the drs., attorneys etc on him? Of course he is crazy or he wouldn't have done it. If he wants to commit suicide, let him.

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Melissa Durbin 2 years, 8 months ago

I think Freedom of "religion" would not require death if you apostate such as the hadith does. Oh how about Quran 4:34 orders a man to beat his wife if she does not obey. No worries when they die an honorable death (911) they will have all those virgins or wives. Maybe that's why they came up with 4:34, crowd control. On the other hand if we would stick with the 10 commandments and spank them...... What a nice place it would be.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

"If he wants to commit suicide, let him."

Tsk! Tsk! Pat.

Committing suicide is against the law, If he does it we'll have to put him in jail. :-)

Personally, I can't imagine anyone saying what Cain said. I wonder if there's any significance in his name? :-)

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frederick franz 2 years, 8 months ago

The Hadith and the Sharia Law will be practiced by Islams. I doubt that the places of worship are particularly important to them as long as they violate no law. It's the same with other religions. You can put them on a space ship to the moon and they will still practice their religion!

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John Lemon 2 years, 8 months ago

Tom: I believe that the First Amendment clearly answers the greater part of your questions. We can not and should not ban places of worship on grounds of religious preferences. Places of worship, however, may be constrained or banned after considering conflicting laws or interests. Zoning laws, for example, restrict what may be built in a particular place. The same basic concept applies to the practice of religion. If one beats one's mate, it conflicts with the law and need not be tolerated. It is the job of the Courts to define which principle "wins" when two or more are in conflict. Personally, I think that the Muslims, etc., are to be tolerated and even defended so long as their practices do not conflict with law or infringe upon my rights. Within those basic parameters, live and let live.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Fred,

You said a mouthful.

From what I've read about what people do when they're scared, I'm willing to bet that you are 100% correct when you say, "You can put them on a space ship to the moon and they will still practice their religion!"

Anybody ever read Dave Hackworth's book? What's it called? "Brave Men," I think.

Although he doesn't make too much of it, he does good job of verifying the old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes.

John,

I could not have said it better.

To be honest, I get confused when I hear people talking about dong things to others that they would howl and scream about if they were done to them. I often wonder. Is there is any way to teach some people the meaning of, "Congress shall make NO law...?"

Look at the example I put up. Israel, a place which, after what happened in 1948, has every right to be less than enthusiastic about Islamic law, actually has a portion of its own laws based on the very Sharia Law that so many people here in the United States keep harping on today. If Israel, considering its history, and its situation, was wise enough to do such a thing, then the very least we ought to be able to do is rise above the kind of rhetoric that some ill-guided candidate is spewing in hopes of getting a few votes.

I was born in New York City, in a neighborhood where if you knew nothing about Judaism you knew nothing about 30% of your friends and neighbors. And I have lived for years in an Islamic nation. My great discovery? People are people. How can anyone not know that?

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Melissa Durbin 2 years, 8 months ago

What get's me is why anyone (people) is so against the One who said "love your neighbor as yourself" and those who want to do the same.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Melissa,

Your comment says it all.

Not only that, our secular law, even our entire nation, is based on strongly held religious beliefs.

When Thomas Jefferson penned these words in the Declaration of Independence he made that plainly obvious:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

So, even though we believe very strongly in a hands-off-religion way of governing ourselves, the very first document ever written to define our government clearly shows that we base even that belief on "unalienable rights" granted us by our Maker.

“love your neighbor as yourself”

What is so hard to understand about that?

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frederick franz 2 years, 8 months ago

Tom, Melissa, “love your neighbor as yourself”. I need no religion to tell me how to live. The quote above is similar to the golden rule; "Do to others as you would have them do to you".

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Fred,

What do you think about the candidate's comment that mosques should be banned?

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Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

John, I believe you can build a church or school anywhere.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

"I believe you can build a church or school anywhere."

The way it would work with a church is simple. No zoning ordinance could even mention one.

That doesn't mean that churches are able to do anything they want. There was a fairly recent case down in the valley--you may remember it--where the ringing of church bells was ruled to be a nuisance. Let me see if I can fnd it for you. Hold on.

Okay, here's part of the story:

Bishop Rick Painter of Christ the King Liturgical Charismatic Church in Phoenix was warned that his constant ringing of bells was a public nuisance under a Phoenix ordinance. He refused to quit ringing them and was jailed.

Later, the case was seen was seen in federal court and the conviction throw out because the ordinance had an exemption for ice cream trucks that stayed under 60 db, but not one for churches, which seems to be an obvious gaff. Whether the case went any farther I do not know. If I have time I'll look it up for you.

That's a tough call. The First Amendment, as I'm sure you know, makes it very clear that the government cannot make laws regarding religion, and I would imagine that's why the Phoenix ordinance did not mention churches. But on the other hand, here comes a judge who throws out the ordinance based on the First Amendment. It seems at first glance that a city can't win.

Anybody care to take a shot at how that ordinance might have been written so that it would pass muster?

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Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

Stop the loud boom boxes in cars then start on the church bells. It really irritates me when a car pulls up 3 cars behind me and my car vibrates from thier damn loud noise. Can't call it music.

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frederick franz 2 years, 8 months ago

"What do you think about the candidate's comment that mosques should be banned?"

Tom, No, don't ban mosques! Just don't let them operate their "call to prayer" over a loud speaker system as they do in Islam. Since the courts are going to allow church bells, just don't build a church near me!!

I agree with Pat's comment above. Enforce noise limits on our streets, then be concerned about the churches..

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Back in New London, I lived about two blocks from the beautiful stone Episcopal Church. They had a carillon that often rang out across the town. Never once did I hear a complaint about it. In fact, the little I ever heard about those bells was always positive and complementary. They added to the town.

The case down in Phoenix involved a small church that made the mistake of ringing its bells too often, for too long, and at the wrong times of day. When that happens it is genuinely disruptive to the peaceful enjoyment of a home.

So? Can a place of worship just do anything it wants regarding "noise?" I doubt it.

I researched this and found that the city of Portland, Oregon, is considered to have the best noise ordinance nationally. Just Google "Portland, Oregon, noise ordinance" and go to Title 18 of the city ordinances to see the whole thing if you like. I'll quote a couple of things and make a few comments to see what you think of it. It looks ideal for Payson or any other city.

I'll put the specific prohibition against animal noise in a separate post because i think it is so good. But 18.12.020 Specific Prohibitions, says (in part): "B.  Sound producing or reproducing equipment.  Operating or permitting the use or operation of any device designed for sound production or reproduction in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance; or operating or permitting the operating or use of any such device between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. so as to be plainly audible within any dwelling unit which is not the source of sound; or operating any such device on public property or on a public right of way so as to be plainly audible 100 feet or more from such device provided that a person operating any such device in a City park pursuant to a permit granted by the Commissioner In Charge of the Park Bureau shall be in violation only if the device is plainly audible at any point along the park boundary."

Since there is no specific exemption for a place of worship, church bells would fall in that category. And since I can see no case where Portland has been to court to defend its ordinance as an infringement on First Amendment freedom of religion, my guess is that the churches in town abide by it.

Notice, by the way, the exemptions (I've abbreviated them):

A. Sounds caused by...emergency work... B. Sounds caused by sources regulated...by federal law. C. Sounds not electronically amplified, created by athletic and entertainment events other than motor vehicle racing events. D. Sounds caused by agricultural and forestry operations within an FF zone of the City. E. Blasting, under permit. F. Sounds made by warning devices operated continuously for 3 minutes or less.

Do you think that ordinance would fly re church bells?

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Pat is going to love this animal noise provision.

A.  Noisy animals.    1.  It shall be a violation for any animal to unreasonably cause annoyance, alarm, noise disturbance at any time of the day or night by repetitive barking, whining, screeching, howling, braying or other like sounds which may be heard beyond the boundary of the owner’s property or keeper’s property under conditions wherein the animal sounds are shown to have occurred either as an episode of continuous noise lasting for a minimum period of ten minutes or repeated episodes of intermittent noise lasting for a minimum period of thirty minutes.  This provision is not applicable to any animals located in a Specified Animal Facility or to livestock owner or keeper, kennel or similar facility, wherein the presence of livestock or the operation of a kennel or similar facility is authorized under the applicable land-use and zoning laws and regulations.  Enforcement of this Subsection shall be the responsibility of Multnomah County Animal Control.   2.  Animals located in a Authorized or Permitted Animal Facility.  It shall be a violation for any animal located in a Specified Animal Facility, as defined in Portland City Code 13.05.005 G., or to any lawful livestock owner or keeper, kennel or similar facility, wherein the presence of livestock or the operation of a kennel or similar facility is authorized under the applicable land-use and zoning laws and regulations to unreasonably cause annoyance, alarm, noise disturbance at any time of the day or night by repetitive barking, whining, screeching, howling, braying or other like sounds which may be heard beyond the boundary of the owner’s or keeper’s property under conditions wherein the animal sounds are shown to have occurred either as an episode of continuous noise lasting for a minimum period of ten minutes or repeated episodes of intermittent noise lasting for a minimum period of thirty minutes.  Enforcement of this Subsection shall be the responsibility of the Bureau of Development Services or another City entity designated by Council. 

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

I wonder?

Could we pass an ordinance like this?

"It shall be a violation for a politician to unreasonably cause annoyance, alarm, noise disturbance at any time of the day or night by repetitive barking, whining, screeching, howling, braying or other like sounds which may be heard beyond the boundary of the owner’s property."

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frederick franz 2 years, 8 months ago

Politicians will always find a way to cause annoyance!

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Why, Fred! How can you say such a thing? Tsk! Tsk! :-)

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Dan Haapala 2 years, 8 months ago

Is there a better definition of Religion than this; Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and moral values. (wikipedia)

Our constitution prohibits the government (fed and state) from making any laws restricting the practice of religion or endorsing the practice of religion and that includes all religions.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Dan,

Interesting. You never know when you're going to learn something new.

Why do I say that? I never thought about a definition of religion before. I always, like most people I guess, just sort of thought I knew what it was. But I wouldn't want to try to define it. You'd have all kinds of ifs, ands, and buts troubling you, trying to be inclusive enough without including everything. The definition Wiki came up with is a good one.

I have always admired the First Amendment where it touches on religion because it is so short and yet so perfect. It just says "no law." You could write and write and write, and never come up with anything better. And you know what? I suspect that's what's wrong with many of our laws; they try to close each little loophole instead of making a broad, general statement to guide those who administer the law. Instead of closing the loopholes, they just open up more of them.

Maybe we ought to try adding something at the beginning of our laws: A short statement that says what the law is intended to do. Like--say--a law establishing welfare that begins with, "It is the wish of the people to help those who need help because of circumstances beyond their control." That would provide a guiding principle. Then there could be some broad general rules, and that would be that. If the intention of the law were more obvious, then we wouldn't have so many people slipping in under the wire.

Which gets us back to religion and our laws. Our religion provides us with broad guiding principles, a way of thinking, a way of living, a way of choosing right from wrong. And the First Amendment is an extension of those principles. How any American candidate for office could propose to ban people from having a meeting place where they can go to share their beliefs is beyond me. I truly do not understand thinking that kind of warped thinking.

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Dan Haapala 2 years, 8 months ago

There are exceptions to the First Ammendment which have been established. ie: Polygamy is illegal even though some said it was part of their religious practice. That brings us to Herman Cains remarks. I can't and won't speak for Cain but he has responded to those reported comments about his comment and now says he was referring to Sharia Law, which he believes is contrary to the Constitution and therefore communities can prevent it from being practiced. I don't think he's wrong on that point but I don't know if that's what he really meant. By the way the religious practice of human sacrafice has also been made illegal. Bet that spoiled a lot of parties.:)

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Dan Haapala 2 years, 8 months ago

I looked back and realized I once again responded to a previous post and not the topic. Spank me. Is banning places of worship okay? I think the answer is yes and this is why. Churches and congregations were formed in communities throughout the new Nation and it was before anyone thought about making rules for taxation. Those rules, when they did come, subjugated Organized Religion to the Government. Today Churches are exempt from taxation on property and income because the 'Government' gave them, and they accepted and applied for, Non Profit Status. Subjugation. Rules accompanied those priviledges which included preventing them from being involved in direct political activity. Even though the First ammendment prohibits the laws (or rules) Churches became involved in Government taxation and therefore are subject to Government rules and therefore new buildings come under the jurisdiction of local community planning and zoning rules and decisions.

Hows that for a topic to follow up on. :-)

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Dan,

Herman Cains comment was that mosques should be banned because Muslims believe that Sharia law should be the law of the land.

His statement is close to being a blatant lie. Why? Because only a small percentage of Muslims actually believe that Sharia Law should be the law of the land.

The percentage of Muslims who believe that to be so is a slightly smaller percentage than the percentage of fundamentalist Christians who believe that Biblical Law should be the law of the land.

On that basis, he should also have been saying that we should ban Christian churches.

There are always a few extremists who believe that holy law should be the law of the land. That's their right. All we have to do about is let them believe what they believe. It is their right to believe that way. We have a Constitution which protects us from any extreme view taking over secular law. No need to worry about it.

I'm going to put up a second post, one that should really make all of us think. It's something that just happened in the UK. It will startle everyone, I know. But from what I know about the true nature of Islam, as a religion founded on our own New Testament beliefs although filtered through word of mouth over several centuries, it is a religion of peace.

But first, let's examine what you say about "banning" churches. I suspect you really meant, "controlling the location of churches and requiring them to abide by reasonable ordinances."

Can't argue with that. The fact that churches and other places of worship abide by parking ordinances, fire ordinances, noise ordinances and the like clearly shows that from a practical viewpoint there is an interface between secular law and religion. So there could very well be a situation when the public welfare would rise above the need for a church, synagogue, or mosque to locate in some specific area.

I remember reading a very wise Supreme Court decision some time ago--wish I call recall it--that points out that the legal separation of church and state does not require that we not put out a fire in a church, even though that falls under secular law. Obviously, they said it better than I just did.

Wait till you read the next post. It will really make you think about how much of the deepest meaning and most righteous teachings of the New Testament found their way into Islam.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Oops!

I forgot that I decided to go back to work on the forum yesterday evening and put up two new strings. One of them contains the same information I was just about to include here.

Please go read the string, "For what it may be worth."

It's a perfect example of how some of our own beliefs found their way into Islam.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

Poygamy is not part of the LDS religion. When you don't have anything else to do look up the reason it was started.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

Pat,

Ran across that years ago when I read the history of the Mormon Church. Just made sense.

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Pat Randall 2 years, 8 months ago

Not part of the religion is it? It was started for a good reason at the time but most non Mormons don't know the reason so the rumors go on.

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Tom Garrett 2 years, 8 months ago

"Not part of the religion is it?"

It is not.

the same thing has been done in a few places where the stress of opening up a new frontier, or a war, or a crop failure, or something similar was too hard on the male in the population and they died off at an alarming rate, leaving their wives and children with no one to care for them.

The difference is that in this case the Church stepped in and asked the remaining males to care for as many people as they could. I have read about the differences elsewhere, where the results were horrendous, with women and children left with nothing--and by nothing i mean food, clothing, or a roof over their heads.

The whole thing was aggravated by the fact that most of the converts came from Europe, and came in family units, often at a fairly advanced age--say--35 or older. I have an image in my mind of those people pushing their hand carts across the plains to Utah. Right there and then a lot of the males died in the plague of incidents that trouble any trekking population.

The rumors go on because we have a habit of not studying our history. When I got to Utah in 1962 I was 30 years old and didn't have a clue what a Mormon was (except for having read Riders of the Purple Sage, a very anti-Mormon book). For that matter, as Catholic I hardly had a clue what the differences were between the many, many protestant faiths. Fortunately, I happen to be a reader, so I read the history of the LDS church--and a lot more. That's the only reason I know anything about it, and I feel that's very wrong. Our schools miss a bet when they don't teach us more history. And that includes church history.

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