Well, it didn’t take long for the politics to come sweeping into the debacle of the fire at Pilgrim Baptist. The Governor promised a million dollars to rebuild and now Tribune columnists and 1980s atheists are whipping up the separation of church and state.
This would not be the first time the State of Illinois gave a million dollars to a church. For that matter, the state has given HUNDREDS of millions to the White Sox and the Bears, whose rituals and devotions rival those of more spiritual organizations.
Eric Zorn, who boosted the atheist (I would say his name, but my 9-year old thinks he is make-believe) running for office, did trot out an impressive legal code that really hammers on the idea of giving a nickel to any religious group. Then again, I doubt DCFS or any of the other hobbled public agencies we have left could function without church-related organizations, so this code is not followed too well.
The reason government could give money to a church is the same reason it can give money to the Bears or Park Grille – because it is an investment in a public resource that enhances the community and attracts tourists. It is the same reason New York State has been giving money to churches for over 15 years – and giving it only to the public exterior of landmarked buildings – because that is the piece of it that is owned by all of us and benefits all of us. It is the same reason there is public money in Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame – not because the state supports religion, but because the state supports its history and its culture.
Yes, the Governor’s statement was a bald ploy to get votes – but it was not as pathetic a ploy as the atheist’s. Now, the Mayor is being reticent about his support since the boo birds are running the table and scaring off the sensible.
This is a public treasure – a lot more public than Soldier Field, and a lot cheaper.
Tags: landmark fires