Monday, April 13, 2009

A Community of Churches?

So during my drive to my brother's for Easter (I wasn't driving, so no murderous road rage, promise!) we passed by the town for South Holland, IL. As I was peering out the window, I noticed their slogan on their water tower and cursed myself for not getting a photograph. But thankfully the powers of the internet have saved me once again:
In case you can't read that, it says "South Holland: Faith, Family Future." The other side of the water tower, which I couldn't find a photo of, said "A community of churches" and showed two hands clasped in prayer.

...So, separation of church and state, eh? Are towns seriously allowed to do that? Maybe the word "Faith" alone isn't too bad - while the connotation is definitely religious, you could argue the town supports faith in their children, their neighbors, their basketball team...whatever. I'll let it slide. But "A community of churches" with stereotypical Christian imagery is certainly promoting not just religion over nonreligion, but specifically Christianity. It doesn't say "A community of churches, mosques, temples, mandirs, atheistic coffee houses, etc."

Is it okay for a town to label itself like this? I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable if I lived there, being constantly reminded by a giant water tower that I'm not a part of my town's supposed virtues. What do you think?

EDIT: Here's a link to their website, which also uses the slogan.


  1. I wonder if the water tower is somehow privately owned? I can't imagine that being okay if it was paid for with public funds.

  2. Sadly, the courts have been letting government get away with more and more of this sort of nonsense, often under the label "ceremonial deism" for things like the pledge and prayers before legislative sessions, though this doesn't quite fit in the same category.

  3. It wouldn't bother me too much.

    Religious or no, a person is still human. If they interact with me on a day to day basis, they'll see I'm human too, and treat me as such. In the end, for me, it's what we do and not what we believe.

    Though I suppose you could argue that what they're doing is purporting a system that not everyone is welcome within unless they subscribe to a certain belief set. But I've lived in towns where the church to townie ratio was out of this world, yet not felt threatened in any way because of my beliefs. I often spoke candidly and politely with church officials interested in speaking, and while we did not see eye to eye, we treated each other with respect. So, in the end, I think it would depend on how the town treated me, and not the proclamation of values that are probably pretty integral to a towns social norms.