Carlinville, Illinois Blocks Worship
Dr. Michael L. Ford
11 April 2008
ďFor the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.Ē 1Timothy 6:10
When I first heard Carlinville officials were standing in the way of a Baptist Church using an old Wal-Mart Store it had purchased as a place for worship I first thought it was going be another account of anti-Christian activity. But it turned out the problem was base, more indicative of low character, greed, and shortsightedness than some account of religious bias or even anti-religious prejudice. The city was glad for the church to use the facility for any purpose at all except for worship, because then they could not charge them taxes for the property.
Already the insightful reader can understand this city is one of a growing trend of money-grubbing bureaucracies in the United States that is seeking ways to tax churches. They do not realize in their greed they are not taking away from a citizenís group, they are stealing from God. The hinder the good work of a church in a community because they take away from the funds that finance such work, which often operates on a shoestring budget. Churches will do things in a community no one else will do because there is no financial incentive for it. Carlinville is not the only city government that does not understand the implications behind the old nursery fable of the goose that laid the golden egg.
Carlinville was glad for the Carlinville Southern Baptist Church to renovate the old Wal-Mart and use it as long as it was not used for worship. They wanted to be able to tax the property, something they could not do to a place of worship. These foolish people apparently do not realize that a place of worship usually does not merely draw people who live within a city, but like the store that was once there, it will draw people from surrounding areas. Wal-Mart usually positions itself among other businesses or smaller business grows up around them. Visitors to the church see those businesses and spend money in them for convenience sake. Most cities get some portion of the sales tax money right away and the increased business also helps those businesses stay in business.
Wal-Mart had tried for six months to sell the old facility after they built a new Supercenter. The city was so ignorant they apparently thought an empty building was preferable to having a church use it to begin with. Empty buildings convey a message of a failing city to people looking to invest or relocate to it. It seems most communities these days are experiencing problems with having all its business facilities occupied as stores relocate to more upscale developments or close in changing economic times. In my hometown, several storefronts are occupied by little congregations. Some of these will be successful and some will fail. But in the meantime the people who own these facilities are getting rent money and the older shopping centers do not appear so desolate.
Carlinville Mayor Robert Schwab complained the city has been ravaged by business closings, a situation not uncommon across the nation, but it apparently has not occurred to him that if he offends Godís people he can also run afoul of Godís wrath. He can have a lot more business closings if God chooses to not bless the city because of its highhanded treatment of believers. There is a big problem today with people not fearing God. Maybe that is why we are suffering a recession across the nation. People get upset when preachers talk like that. They do not like to remember actions have repercussions. If he wants to look out for the economic interests of the whole community as he claims, he would do well to reconsider his attitude toward this church.
Pastor Tim Rhodus says they are praying for a spiritual awakening for the community. Clearly by their actions we can see they need it. While they are praying they should remember a general election is coming up and it would be a good idea to get some momentum going to vote the rascals out. Towns across America need local leadership with Solomon like wisdom in these hard times. It is clear to me Carlinville is one of those towns.
P. O. Box 752
Buchanan, Georgia 30113