Sunday, June 25, 2006

Separation Of Church And Common Sense

I opened up my Sunday edition of the News and found this story on the front page of the "Local News" section.

Thursday evening, we were made aware that the roof of the church in the story had caved in. There was no storm or other unusual factors that would normally cause a roof to cave in. What's more, the church was newly built. Then we learned that building codes were not followed when building the church. My initial thought was that someone had been conned by a shady contractor.

Then I read this little gem:

[Pastor Jeff Carroll], himself a homebuilder, said he was not aware of any requirements and remains unconvinced a government body should have a say in how a church is built.

I blinked and re-read that paragraph. Then I read more:

The Cedar Grove church designs were assembled by a church member and her daughter after looking at pictures on the Internet, Carroll said. Some hand drawings were made, then printed out on a computer program and used as the blueprints, he said.

The pastor said he volunteered to oversee the construction at no cost, or to hire a contractor. The church went with the pastor.

So is the pastor a professional homebuilder? If so, then I want to know why he was "not aware of requirements" for builders. I don't think I would want him to build my home.

Quite possibly the most astounding portion of this article are these two quotes from the pastor:

"If the state and the church are separate, I don't understand why they think they've got jurisdiction," he said.

"We were trying to build a new one the way our forefathers did, with blood and sweat and tears and volunteers and donations and people helping," Carroll said. "As far as I'm concerned, that should still be legal in America."

I hope he's just kidding. This isn't a question of free practice of religion. This is a question of following building codes designed to make sure that your place of worship won't... well... cave in. Further, you can still build a church with your own congregation putting in the work. That is still perfectly legal. Following building codes doesn't prohibit you from doing that.

The article goes on to say that the church is insured and that they expect to be covered for the loss. I am interested to see how that claim works out. Depending on the policy, the insurance company may not pay up because building codes were not followed. If the insurance does come through, I suspect that the church will be paying some insanely high premiums from here on out.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home