19 July 2008
Today, between 2:00 and 2:45, a church service was held in Washington Park. This was definitely not the Washington Park Preacher. He has not been seen in several weeks. This Christian observance was held by a local church who called themselves "apostolic," but the PA system was distorting and I could not make out the full name of the church. The preacher was a young African American woman who shouted into her microphone, and her voice was broadcast loudly around the neighborhood surrounding the park. The amplification made it difficult if not impossible to choose to not listen. Those of us who do not share her beliefs, especially those of us who do not happen to be Christian, and have no plans to become Christian, were forced to endure a religious observance which we found offensive. Several months ago, the city of Cincinnati barred the Vineland Church from distributing free food to the poor and homeless in Washington Park. Reasons cited included a lack of public rest rooms, and an allegation that too much paper trash was left behind. The city of Cincinnati now allows an apostolic church --- a very loud, intrusive proselytizing denomination as it happens --- to hold religious observances in the park, and to run their preaching through a PA system that forces the neighborhood to listen. Washington Park is maintained by public funds. The city of Cincinnati has apparently endorsed one religion over another. This is breathtakingly unconstitutional. Whatever this apostolic group believes, it is a fact that no poor people were fed today. Only loud, ostentatious displays of one denomination's beliefs were broadcast across a neighborhood steaming through a miserably hot summer day. Anyone who lives in OTR who does not wish to be forced to listen to unwanted religious services should contact the city and complain. Or the U.S. Attorney's office, since it's obvious the city of Cincinnati has a de facto policy of endorsing a specific religion, and a specific denomination.
Posted by David Carney at 21:09