My blog about churches paying for onstreet parking in NYC drew this response from a reader:
"As I have said before, the churches would line up to pay for parking if the money provided better street scapes, lighting, garbage collection, parks and security in the neighborhoods.”
This is in response to your snotty remarks in the PT Magazine, echoed by your snotty remark above from the blog. How many churches did you survey before twice making this allegation? Lemme guess: none. It’s just libel.
Do you honestly believe that ministers would prefer that worship services be interrupted so worshipers can feed meters to provide city-financed landscaping around their parishes? This may play well with the irreligious element among your readership, but it is a ridiculous calumny if only on a practical level.
Have you noticed that churches and Christian relief organizations have run to the rescue of Hurricane Katrina’s victims, while so far, unless I have missed it, not a peep has been uttered from the parking industry about its relief efforts. I guess that means that people involved in the parking industry are only selfish boors, you know, like those ministers whom you slander.
Metered parking within reasonable distances of churches and synagogues is indeed nothing but a tax on religion, often on those who can least afford it – the poor who worship in urban settings.
When will governments ever decide that they, rather than the overtaxed citizenry, must learn to live with less rather than constantly wringing more and more revenue out of us?
You have taken a serious issue and trivialized it to suit your apparent need to heap disdain on something with which you are obviously unfamiliar – worship of God. Or maybe you have made parking revenues into a deity that must be propitiated at all costs.
Where to begin — so much bandwidth, so little time…I agree that I was cutesy, but not snotty. I simply commented that if the city of New York were to take the money from parking an plowed it back into the neighborhoods from which it came, rather than simply into its general fund, it would be more acceptable to the churches. If you have been reading this blog, you know that I believe strongly in helping the neighborhoods from where the money comes. That isn’t restricted to landscaping, but to parks, recreation, clean streets, cops on the beat, well you know the rest.
My guess is that if I did the survey the writer refers to, I would be right, however I’m not going to do so. I am going to use logic rather than invective, a slice of thought rather than name calling.
Yes, I was trying to be funny when I commented that if the preachers did a bit better job with their sermons, parking wouldn’t matter. He sees this as a tax on religion. Well, what its a tax on is on some of the religions. If parking is free on Sunday in NYC, then The Seventh Day Adventists, Jews, Muslims, and others that pray on days other than Sunday would still have to pay for parking. Not very Christian of you…
As for the parking industry not reacting to Katrina — They were too busy dealing with the tragedy to get their PR machines into motion. The two largest parking companies, Standard and Central, are up to their necks in Katrina, being large operators in New Orleans. Both their web sites have 800 number links to their employees offering help and assistance. And are taking care of their own. Many of their employees are the very people we saw on TV. I also know for a fact than many of the operators have been networking helping competitors and friends with relief. There are Katrina coin boxes and relief efforts in parking lots across the country. In addition many of the support companies, parking equipment and service manufacturers have collected money and are doing donation work for Katrina relief. I am also certain that many of the members of the industry that my correspondent libeled above are working as volunteers across the afflicted area. One parking Corporate President I know was running a chain saw all last week to help clean roads blocked by trees felled by Katrina.
As for minister’s services being interrupted by persons going out to fill meters. My priest had one of us acolytes take dimes and fill the meters around the church during services. Seemed like a small donation to him to keep his flock in their seats. He remembered something someone said about rendering to Caesar that which is Caesars, and to God that which is God’s. If the city council of NYC was so worried about the churches and their parking fees, they could simply donate a few dollars each year to the churches (and temples) affected so they could do the same.
I saw all this as simply another group of politicians trying to garner a few votes. And I still feel that way. To my angry correspondent "When you are able to have this conversation without letting your chip get too big on your shoulder, get back to me.:
I’m sorry I have to say this: One’s religion and the way they worship is their business, and their business alone. Some of the best people I know are religious, and some of them are not. It is neither my business nor yours how, why, when, or if they worship. It is neither my job nor yours to criticize them for how they live their lives, or worship their God, particularly when we know absolutely nothing about them. Nuff Said