Church steeples are very common in Christian churches.They are symbols of man's attempt to reach the heavens or the Divine. They serve a religious purpose. As explained in Alletia,
Steeples were also used to remind a local community to remain focused on God. Other secular buildings were usually built lower than the church steeple, making the local church the highest and most important building of the town. You couldn’t go anywhere in town without seeing the steeple and as a result be reminded about your duty to God.Government money should never be spent to remind the local community about their duty to God.
Just last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a state grant to a church for playground surfacing was consistent with the Establishment Clause. Obviously, the grant was for a secular purpose. No one religion was given preference over another. There was no excessive entanglement of religious and governmental institutions.
This grant is the polar opposite. The money for a steeple serves no purpose other than religious. The grant gives preference to Christianity, where steeples are the norm. The government is directly involving itself in one specific church's attempt to reach the Divine
There are numerous churches out there. Shiloh Baptist Church has a completely secular after-school mentoring program. Other churches have food pantries. Even more churches sponsor athletic programs. there are even some churches with steeples of their own in need of restoration. Easton's Rock Church has a steeple that desperately needs restoration.
Did any of this churches even know that we are now in the business of handing out money to them? I doubt it. Rev. Mike Dowd knew because of his involvement in the Chamber, and made sure to pass the collection plate, to the exclusion of other churches.
This is totally wrong.
County Executive Lamont McClure tells me, "I believe in God and the First Amendment."
Well, you can believe in both and deny this grant.
Absolutely should be denied! What is the justification for the grant? Is it a historic landmark? A tourist attraction? Hardly. You can bet that the pious Rev. Dowd will be there with his crony Uncle Sal, pontificating about how important the church is to the character and history of Easton. Council will rubber stamp the grant because Lamont owes some favors.
It is touted as historically significant. Let the people who think that pay for it.
If McClure is the great leader you claim him to be why did he approve this going to council?
The Rev. Dowd is one of those protestant minsters that condemn Catholic Churches for bingo gambling. Didn't he oppose the casino but is more than willing to accept the cold cash from the wages of sin. These religious types are the worst hypocrites. If you want to fix up your Church pass the plate,sell hoagies but don't use my tax money. Ye sit is tax money the casino is taxed and the money can go for worthy projects that really help people.
What will happen with the several hundred thousand dollars associated with the hospital authority?
I'm a church goer. This is wrong. I donate to fix my church. How about the UCC fix their own church. Hold a bake sale or bingo or a clothing drive, like the rest of us.
Looking at the photo, perhaps they should ask Just Born for a grant.
If churches are considered because of historical significance, the money should be directed to repair St. Joseph Church on South Side Easton. It's stunning beauty is one of the pillars of Easton's "skyline." A beautiful, historic church in Nazareth is struggling to repair a roof amid declining donations. I'd guess that church is of greater historical significance. Do they get help? This could go on and on.
The church should pay for its own maintenance. Evangelical churches are flush with membership and money and are building huge facilities on their own. Holy Family is building a new parish center with its own money. While many traditional denominations are hemorrhaging membership and struggling to stay alive, that's not taxpayers' problem.
"If McClure is the great leader you claim him to be why did he approve this going to council?"
He did not. A committee consisting of DCED people and two council members "ranked" applications and have forwarded them to Council. Now how Dowd's church even knew that this was a grant opportunity, when no other church did, is no mystery. This is all about taking care of someone who is connected.
I appreciate you going to bat on this one after I pointed it out several weeks ago when the list first appeared in a blog story right here. I implore council to red line this project from getting tax dollars to the exclusion of other places of worship. Right is right!
"If churches are considered because of historical significance, the money should be directed to repair St. Joseph Church on South Side Easton."
I doubt any church in the county was aware of this except Dowd. This is all a taking care of a an economic development crony. How convenient that Dowd just happened to step down from GPA in this time period.
No church should be considered at all. But if historical signifigance is enough to donate to a church, there are numerous county churches that have history and historical needs They were never made aware of this grant opportunity.
Lori Vargo opposed the appointment of Dr. Brooke Tesche to the D&A Board because she was concerned that she would use her role there to recruit for some drug rehab school she has started. Se made the separation of church and state argument then. Was that just bullshit?
Council is not there to serve the DCED, Rev. Dowd or the first UCC. They serve the people of NC. This grant is unlawful in two grounds. !) It violates the Constitution they all swore to uphold. 2) No other church was made aware of this grant opportunity. The fix was in.
"Looking at the photo, perhaps they should ask Just Born for a grant."
That id not the First UCC. That is my twisted humor.
"I appreciate you going to bat on this one after I pointed it out several weeks ago when the list first appeared in a blog story right here. I implore council to red line this project from getting tax dollars to the exclusion of other places of worship. Right is right!"
You did, and I promised you I would look into it. I did not even know then what UCC was involved since no address is even given. I assumed it must be a church no longer in use. It is in fact an active church, and steeples in active churches serve a religious purpose. This promotes Christianity to the exclusion of other religions.
I have asked Bill McGee and Tara to vote no on this attempted revenue grab.
Council is opening the door to support ALL churches. It’s obviously because of Dowd. But VERY VERY wrong. I’m a member of Trinity U C C in STone Church Upper Mt Bethel. No one helped us with our fund raising to restore our steeple. We could use a new roof. Does that qualify?
Some religious gatherings are being held in "Public Schools" on Sunday's in some of the Bethlehem Area School's, how is that?
Unconstitutional if true.
Couldn't the group holding the religious gathering pay the school and by extension the tax payers the fair value for the use of the space? If the schools are doing that, it seems to be a great way to earn some money for buildings that aren't being used on those days.
Thanks for reporting on the fix,let us know when you report on the other fix you are aware of Bernie.
@11:08; there's this thing called separation of church and state. Build your own church on your own dime and leave agnostic taxpayers like me out of it!
McClure could have told his people don't put it in. No way his people took it to that committee without his knowledge. Stop covering for you heroes.
@1:48 PM, You don't understand how the separation of church and state is applied. If the school is renting out the space for community groups, a church can hold their gatherings there as well, so long as they are paying fair value like everyone else. Feel free to educate yourself on the case, which was upheld by SCOTUS.
Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education
Dowd is a slippery fellow like his pal Uncle Sal. Under the cover of righteousness Dowd could be really nasty in politics. Your buddy Tony Iannelli had him on the payroll for years and when he left, somehow his daughter was the most qualified for a Chamber job. This gang of DCED/Chamber people are incestuous and have worked their way into local government over the years. No one has had the guts to go up against them.
What kind of man of God wires up such a slimy deal? Aside from the legality, I question the morality of those who wold perpetrate such a scheme. That which is legal is not necessarily moral, in the eyes of Our Lord. Are UCCs unable to bake, wash cars, call bingo games, or orchestrate a capital campaign with their faithful? That's how my church pays for things.
BTW, golf tournaments, properly run, are huge earners for private organizations. They require volunteers and hard work and sponsors. But that's what people do when they're unaware that county church money is available. I imagine that will change after this expenditure. I'm working up my proposal now. I expect all faiths will be treated the same by the county.
”McClure could have told his people don't put it in. No way his people took it to that committee without his knowledge. Stop covering for you heroes.” - Not covering for him at all. He has no right to interfere with what the committee recommends. He can refuse to spend the money.
Tara agrees..McGee on fence..
Have made my best argument against this with McGee..see what happens.
Pay to Play
Constitution, Schmanstitution… If this is NOT for religious purposes than Pay to Play can be the only explanation.
The UCC is a dying liberal progressive denomination, with the typical liberal attitude that someone else should pay for their building. Sell your church if you can't afford it.
If you're referring to Judge Zito, I have written long ago that people are pressured into pleading during those cattle calls. I have complained before that blue team lawyers, who are there only for conflicts with the PD, often approach defendants who can afford to hire a lawyer and attempt to make deals. It is a warehouse, and I have said so. I wrote about this years ago, when I complained about the obscene salaries paid to law clerks. At least two years ago.
I do not fault Judge Zito. He's a good judge. I do fault the defense bar for all too often going along like the third wheel on a bicycle. I know lawyers who would never tolerate being run over and they aren't. I also believe Att'y Angelo could have exercised more discretion in the way he handled this matter. Much of what he has pleaded is accurate. Also, contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, the DA agrees that Zito should recuse himself. I agree he should step down, too, bc he and Angelo clearly dislike each other. But Judge Zito is not at fault. The defense bar is. It has been a willing accomplice.
Riley Yates is doing a good job on this story.
Zito is a more than fair judge and I know this to be a fact. He has taken real chances on people that no other judge would have granted leniency. I believe he is a good observer of humanity as he has seen so much over a long career that he is the one judge I would have no qualms standing in front of if need be. Blame the system...not him.
I agree. If you take a look at the fellow who died in jail, Judge Zito recognized he had a problem and molded a sentence that got him out of jail as soon as mental health could find a place for him. He is willing to help people so long as they present no danger to society, If one of his staffers unduly pressured someone to plead, that's wrong. But i find nothing inappropriate about a judge telling a lawyer and his client to stick around on arraignment day. That's mild. What i do fond offensive is the state AOPC putting pressure on the courts to generate numbers. That's the system, not justice. Like i said, I think it is the obligation of the defense bar to reject this approach. I know of no good lawyer who allows himself to be pressured by anyone.
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