Worship, But At What Cost?

Full story: ABC News
Oct. 1, 2006 - Four times a day, Hindu devotees flock to Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a spectacular temple erected not in India or Nepal, but in Stafford, Texas. Full Story
Man San

Bryn Mawr, PA

#1 Oct 1, 2006

An open letter to ABC News, Mayor Leonard Scarcella and the City Council of Stafford, TX

Because all of the above do not release their contact info on line, this will be broadcast on my blog and to my own networks, as well as to media outlets that I can contact. ABC news does not allow detailed emails,(500 character limit) so I encourage you to view the full text at http://crazydesire.blogspot.com

This was story shown on ABC news on Sunday, October 01, 2006, about religious institutions in Stafford, TX. Report by ABC's Geofff Morrell.

Everything in red is an exact transcript, everything else is my commentary. A full transcript is for now available here

The city is considering a cap on churches. The town is looking for a polite way to close the door on new churches. Just 18,000 people live in Stafford, TX, just south of Houston, but there are more than 50 religious institutions there. And now Stafford is saying if you want to build a church, please do it somewhere else.

When I saw the report this far, I thought, Ah yes, bible belt America, where church is the most powerful institution there is. But then they went to feature Hindus and their temple, and then Chinese Baptists, and then Syrian Orthodox, and then Muslims, Pentecostals, and Buddhists, along with several other religious institutions shown in a quick montage. The reporter referred to them as the “United Nations of Religion”. I was truly impressed that they actually represented a large spread of faiths.

But then the reported spoke of three churches that opened along one intersection in four years. And how churches, being tax exempt, are eating away as the tax base as they gobble up land.(Yes, the reporter used only the word "churches", never "religious institutions")

The city council in considering a cap on churches, although that could be an invitation to litigation. Stafford is ready to go all the way to the Supreme Court to strike a better balance between faith and finance. The city is counvinced it has enough god or gods to go around.

Geoff Morrell, Mayor Leonard Scarcella, and city council members Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Smith Wen Guerra John Rose Michael Sachs Cecil Willis. I have a few questions for you:

Was this report accurate?
Do you intend the ban to apply to churches, or all religious institutions?
If churches only, then why are other religious institutions exempt from the ban? If all religious institutions, why did you say churches?

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