Thursday, November 15, 2018

NorCo Council Poised to Approve Steeple Grant in Easton

Based on an equivocal opinion from Solicitor Chris Spadoni, Northampton County Council is poised to gift $20,000 for the steeple restoration of Easton's United Church of Christ. During a hearing on this matter, one congregant called it a "beacon of hope and faith." That's more or less why no government funds should be spent. This grant promotes religion, and one specific kind of religion over others.

Lori Vargo Heffner, who was on the selection committee that made the original mistake, plans tpperpetuate her error and vote for it. She claimed that Council has in the past given gifts to churches. I defy her to cite one example in which Northampton County donated any money to a church so it could promote its religion. Even if it's true, that's no reason to continue violating the Establishment Clause.

Matt Dietz, participating by phone, gave an explanation that is borderline moronic. He claims it is "almost" discrimination NOT to promote this church and its religion. He should read the First Amendment.

Bob Werner is supporting it because he represents the Easton district and it's historic. The Constitution applies in Easton, too, Bob.

My guess is that Peg Ferraro, and John Cusick will go along, meaning there are at least five or more votes

Ron Heckman is a No. He dislikes the support of one specific church. He is also quite concerned that Northampton County is buying a lawsuit. I believe several groups could take the county to court, wasting far more money than the grant is worth.

What this is really about is taking care of a connected insider, Mike Dowd.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bingo BO, you said the word that counts..Dowd! The guy is the ultimate economic insider. There is a reason his church grant found its way to this committee. You do have to give credit to Dowd and his republican allies. Despite becoming the minority on council they still got their guy a grant for his flock. Got to love the system.

Anonymous said...

What a bullshit move. Do these people know they got played? I hope they get a blessing out of it, given they gave a big taxpayer donation. Hope the pagans from up at the Bangor rocks come in. lol

Anonymous said...

Mainline protestant congregations are going the way of the Dodo bird and taxpayers are now responsible for propping them up. UCC membership has been in steady decline for years, having lost 60% of its membership since the 50s, and expected to lose 80% of that in the next 30 years (according to their own report).

I'm not anti-church. I attend weekly. Many churches are thriving and growing without taxpayer underwriting. Not all denominations are going to make it. The UCC certainly isn't. Perhaps another, more vital congregation buys the place and has the money to repair it. Let religion be free and don't force taxpayers to underwrite dying denominations.

Anonymous said...

This is the church,
And this is the steeple,
Open the doors,
And see all the people...

...not paying to maintain their own church.


Remember the days when churches did the charitable work that government now does? And did much of it better?

Now this church gets in line for government handouts as well.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

I really don't care about the First Amendment aspect of this, but it's just not fair. Unless NorCo is handing out $20,000 checks to every church or other group that wants one, it shouldn't be handing them out at all.

To me, when you can afford to hand out goodies to favored organizations or individuals, it's proof that the program is wasting our money and needs to end. This is what happens when you give politicians a pot of money to buy votes with.

Why not give the money back to all the taxpayers, and let them decide what to give to the church? And then the church can make its pitch directly to individuals in the community, no matter what their faith, so that those individuals can decide whether the project is worthy of their support.

But doing that would take real work on the part of the church, especially since individuals are not the easy mark that government is.

Anonymous said...

How can council now deny any other religious organization's requests?

Anonymous said...


"Remember the days when churches did the charitable work that government now does? And did much of it better?

Now this church gets in line for government handouts as well."

Bingo. Now behold! the new religion of the state and faux environmentalism.

Anonymous said...

6:29
Amen

The UCC is a failed liberal denomination. They're progressing themselves to irrelevancy.

2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Anonymous said...

Easton or any level of goverment should not be subsidizing a religious organization. They are tax exempt. You can't have it both ways. This is BS.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:43 said...

"Easton or any level of goverment should not be subsidizing a religious organization. They are tax exempt. You can't have it both ways."


So you're saying that taxpayers have already given to the cause? And you think that YOU should be the one to determine if what you've already given is enough?

Come on, we all know that government knows how to spend your money better than you do. And if you don't want to give as much as they think you should, they'll just take your house to make sure that you're paying enough.

Anonymous said...

This group is about to get an education from the Freedom From Religion Foundation at ffrf.org. This is illegal period. From Lehigh Counties cross in thier logo to Honesdale Borough's Cross and star on the boro property. Don't be to quick to write the check cause every dime will be in the county taxpayers cj checkbook. ffrf.org Mr. Bernie. Look them up they love this kind of stupid.

Anonymous said...

Religious services being held in Bethlehem area school's on Sundays, churches wanting tax dollars for repairs so what's next?

Anonymous said...

Having brought this issue to Bernie's attention when the list first emerged..I am dumbfounded that any D let alone any R council member would support such a blatant affront to the US Constitution! This is a law suit on a platter and it will cost the county plenty to defend this stupid decision and the county solicitor's non answer to it's legality. What are they thinking? They aren't!

Anonymous said...

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a group of anti-religion bullies. They are just as bad (if not worse) than those who wish to foist their religion on others. They attempt to do the same, only their religion is atheism.

They may well file suit, but that doesn't mean they're always correct.

Expect them to lose the Lehigh County case once the Supreme Court rules on the Bladensburg Cross case in June.

Anonymous said...

Those cases are merely about symbolic issues..not money issues! This case totally different and even more air tight.

Anonymous said...

Give me atheism any day over religious oppression and entitlement.

Anonymous said...

It's bad enough I have to vote in a Catholic Church, but this is ridiculous. Has someone reported this to the ffrf?

Anonymous said...

The Green Door on Pembroke Rd needs a fresh coat of paint so do they qualify? Spanky's on Butler St needs a new stage and pole so do they qualify?

Anonymous said...

Pre-lim violation info sent to FFRF. Awaiting response.

Anonymous said...

They will want to know when this will be voted on as they would rather have issues addressed and possibly resolved before legal action would have to be taken.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame any republicans this a democrat proposal. They hate the constitution and want the state to be the new religion. They are in charge. McClure and his lackeys on council want this.

Anonymous said...

If the R's are not for this and that is the case..then it should go down to defeat..Heckman has already said no! We'll see who is party to this travesty and who isn't.

Anonymous said...

Republicans are smarter than democrats, that is a fact Bernie. If this is just for the historic steeple and not the main church is it really fixing a church? You must admit that this is not a clear cut religion/government issue.

Anonymous said...

Next thing will be the local Catholic Church wanting money to open a day care center for young youths.

Anonymous said...

So did they pass it. They have been doing verbal gymnastics trying to prove this anything but an insider gift for Mike Dowd. Does anyone on county council realize this? Is it true Ken Kraft said no to the application. so why don't anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Yes, in fact most "mainline churches" are turning against Christian doctrines and beliefs, and it could be reasonably argued that they are now merely community organizations.

Anonymous said...

I heard it was passed. We know how this got to the committee. Bernie was right on this one. Insider connections got this on the committee agenda. Some poor slob without the insider track probably was unaware of grants.. This is just wrong because of how this was handled and approved. It only perpetuates the game of getting your hands on taxpayer money. Hope they get their asses sued.

Anonymous said...

2:06 AM....what are you talking about? The mainline churches that reject fire and brimstone hate along with the latest versions of nationalism are following the teachings of Jesus Christ far more than those who cherry pick the Bible to support their own social and political agenda. If Jesus does return to earth anytime soon it will be very interesting to see what version of his "word" he supports. I would hope however that we both can agree that Jesus will not likely give his highest blessing for this steeple project.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I heard it was passed. We know how this got to the committee."

It was tabled. But because it is in the budget, it will be a valid grant unless Council removes it when they do their budget amendments.

Anonymous said...

So much for the R's are smarter and this is a D's grant issue.