Friday, June 29, 2012

#63- Church and State

Religions love to claim the right to legislate morality.  They act like they created righteousness.  Generally speaking, they promote obeying laws especially laws that are from them.  In the U.S., we have the separation of the Church (all places of worship really) and State.  That does not mean that everyone obey these laws.  Church members also break other laws that often benefit them or maintain their safety.

Churches enjoy all types of perks especially when it comes to taxes.  One of the things that they are not allowed to do in return is favor a political candidate.  During my time in my main church I have see this law skirted and broken outright.  At the time I was not aware of the Church/State laws but I found it strange and annoying to have people who did not attend the church regularly suddenly show up and essentially ask for "God's help" in races or just wanted to let us know of some issues that they or their ilk is involved it.

I don't know anyone else that was perturbed by this openly.  Generally speaking, outright criticism is taboo in the church.  This organization is not about freedom of thought or speech but is about obeying power figures.  I think more people were aware or annoyed but I will never know who they are.

There was at least 1 police officer who attended the church in uniform.  I am not sure if he is hired to work overtime or not but his presence was there.  He seemed to mind the traffic and parking issues.  When traffic was settled he would come inside and peek inside and catch a bit of the sermons.  I also was confused about this.  I wasn't sure if he was working or was working and worshiping all at once.  This gives the impression that even this authority figure found the religion important.  I do not know of all laws and statutes of the city of Miami but I suspect that many members were breaking at least some of the laws.  This may have been done unwittingly but I suspect that the officer could have let the transgressor know of the infraction.  This is my personal suspicion but now I will talk about a violation that I am almost 100% sure was ignored and broken.

Public buildings must post capacity signs and display fire drill maps that show the nearest exits in case of emergencies.  I think that we are even supposed to have fire drills just to make sure that the crowds know how to react in a calm and orderly way.  The leaders also should know when they are approaching capacity as well.  I reckon that most of the members of the church are unaware or unconcerned about this.  If they are aware of this they will probably defer to Divine Providence to pull them through.

I remember an exit door being locked in the main sanctuary where we did the youth service.  This was when I wondered if the Fire Marshal actually checks these establishments.  If they did would they levy the fines?  Would the church publicize that they just got a slap on the wrist?  Would they make the necessary changes if it disturbed their business?  I don't think so.  I think that the Fire Marshal will punish a church only reluctantly and would get a major lash back if he or she made this a career.  I gather that these violations are so pervasive that the accountant of the county could make their due just from these violations alone.

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