Saturday, December 5, 2009

They're Coming To Take Your Church Bells Away

So here we are, in the Christmas season again. Time for Santa Claus and lighted trees and nativities to spring up at court houses all over the country. ACLU lawyers are still able to sleep, but only fitfully and only for another week or so.

I can’t help but wonder how long will it be before a serious effort is made to outlaw, make illegal, or make socially unacceptable the ringing of church bells in America because it “might” make some very small minority feel uncomfortable, or because it irritates the joyless? And just how much of a stretch can that be, because unlike with radio where the signal travels unheard and unseen on the public airwaves, from the sound of a bell, there is, quite literally, no escape. One has no choice but to hear it. One cannot, as with a display at the courthouse, turn away, cross the street or chose not to look. One cannot choose not to hear a bell.

And what to do about the omnipresent, architecturally significant churches in some communities? Some cities have made it a point of pride, part of their civic identity. (More churches per capita than anywhere else in the US) (that would be Christian Churches)

So do Muslim, atheist, Hindu, or Shinto minorities have a reason to feel uncomfortable with this public display of religion? And if so, do they have a right to some sort of relief from this sonic persecution?

And if they require some redress, if they require that for their peace of mind our church bells are silenced, will we then require the same public silence of our religious neighbors. Will we require that they refrain from the singing of prayers from their minarets? How colorless, and without texture will we be required to make American culture before they are satisfied?

But that's just what an average guy thinks.

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