Friday, September 01, 2006

Churches Just Don't Get It

Or I just don't get them.

The Enquirer ran an article on a St. Bernard's church in Dayton Kentucky asking for $100,000 to replace it's stainglassed windows. It's a beautiful big old church. Until we switched to public schools this year I was in the church a couple times a year. My oldest daughter always had a music presentation there since she went to the school that the church fed.

But my question is: Why in the hell is this church spending $100k on windows? Dayton Kentucky is poor. It's a river city next to my beloved Bellevue and like many river cities, those who could emptied out to the suburbs long ago. Now it's a depressed, run down area full of Appalachians who families moved in during the first 30 years of the last century. I think its on an upward swing. Some of the stately homes are beautiful - but butchered into multiple apartment units.

Also, no one attends the church. The last pastor complained constantly in school board meetings about the lack of parishioners. The blame was usually put on an increasingly secular society. But the evangelicals are booming. I think the Catholic church just has nothing to offer the soul of these people. I'm not blaming the people. I blame the Church - I went from considering converting to Catholism when I first started sending my kid there to now thinking there may be something to all those vatican conspiracies.

The church has no business yanking $100,000 out of it's parishioners. Here's some stats:
The median income for a household in the city was $32,008, and the median income for a family was $38,339. Males had a median income of $28,592 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,373. About 15.2% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.4% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
The Catholic church is rich. Why ask borderline poor people give money to provide more glory to a rotting, soon-to-be defunct church when maybe a $100k could go to a daycare? or a school (the church in Dayton shut one down a few years ago)? Or just let these people keep their $100k to give to their own families?

A marble tile from a vatican toilet could probably cover the costs. Leave your hands off these people's money. I know some of these people. They are good people doing the best they can with what they've got. They're turning their town around. A bright shiny backlit Jesus staring down at them from a crucifix isn't going to help anyone.

Stay You.
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