Rhode Island Church Finds Out That Not Everyone Loves the Sound of Its Bell

Six years after I bought my home, the coffeehouse across the street was transformed into a Hard Rock Café. The new management decided to promote the place by affixing a couple of trunk-sized, weather-proof speakers to the roof and playing a one-minute rock medley several times a day, at such eardrum-shattering volumes that the din could easily be heard three or four blocks away.

A trip to City Hall resulted in the town manager telling me his hands were tied, as there were special rules permitting the loud music, based on the interests of the hundreds who are clearly drawn to such places.

So I had a talk with the Hard Rock Café business manager, first pleading and then demanding that she stop or reduce the ruckus. She heard me out while studying her nails, and said a bit nonchalantly that she had every right to do what she did, and that her clientele obviously enjoyed the thrice-a-day sonic bursts.

Last week, at my wit’s end, I filed a lawsuit, because the joint illegally interferes with my peaceful enjoyment of my property. The Hard Rock Café management, in response, put out the following statement:

So many in the community have enjoyed hearing the snippets of rock music for years for but minutes a day. The Hard Rock Café believes such sounds are reasonable and well within its rights. The music-loving community is saddened that a sole individual would continue personal, inappropriate attacks harassing visitors and staff.

All right, time to come clean. If this story sounds vaguely improbable, it’s because I invented it. Sort of. (Last year I took this photo of my actual view — note the absence of noisy rock temples!).

But the tale is very close to real for some people. Just substitute church for rock joint. Ask yourself why virtually no home owner would stand for the situation I described, but why it’s okay for a house of worship, as opposed to a house of rock, to produce an ungodly number of decibels some 25 times a week.

These are the facts of a current conflict in Rhode Island, as relayed in the Providence Journal.

John Devaney lives in the former parish rectory on Rockland Street in Narragansett, across from St. Thomas More Catholic Church. He bought the house 18 years ago. There were no church bells to disturb his peace and quiet during his first six years there. At that point, a new church administrator was brought in, who added a bell, and had it electronically amplified. Since then, the church bell has sounded for a minute three times a day — at 8:45a, then at 12:00p, then again at 6:00p. On Sundays, the pealing begins at 7:45a. On the weekends, the bell is also used to announce weddings and funerals.

John Devaney outside the church (Kathy Borchers – The Providence Journal)

The town can’t do anything because places of worship enjoy blanket exemptions from local noise ordinances.

The clergy at St. Thomas Church are not receptive to Devaney’s demands that either the frequency of the pealing is reduced, or the noise level, or both, and issued the following passive-aggressive response to the lawsuit that their irate neighbor just brought:

So many in the community have enjoyed hearing the bell for more than 10 years for but minutes a day. The parish believes the brief ringing of the bell is reasonable and well within its rights. The parish community is saddened that a sole individual would continue personal, inappropriate attacks harassing visitors, worshippers and staff of St. Thomas More Parish. As a community of faith, we will pray for peace and understanding and that all our neighbors know of our charity and concern.

As we found out during the Jessica Alquist controversy, Rhode Island has its share of Bible lovers, and they’re out in force again.

“Seems like a nice enough gentleman… too bad he’s buying a one way ticket to hell,” was the response of one Suzanne Lavallee Nocco; and a man by the name of Charlie Oaks followed that up with “Another idiot atheist out to make a buck and a name. Butler Hospital has a nice room ready for you Devaney.” (Butler is a local psychiatric clinic.)

By that standard, I guess we’ll all have to check into a mental ward — at least those of us who dare ask whether it’s constitutionally sound to auto-exempt religious organizations from the municipal ordinances that everyone else in town must follow. Why wouldn’t a church be subject to the same rules, the same permit process, the same hearings, and the same appeals as the rest of the townspeople and local businesses?

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A poll on the Providence Journal website currently shows an early 2:1 victory for those who like their church bells to sound loudly, unassailably, and at all hours. But voting is still open.

Do your worst.

(Thanks to Jane for the link)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Savoy47

    John
    Devaney should set up a pair of giant speakers pointed at
    the church and blast Satanic music at that church at the same volume. When he gets a citation for it he’ll have
    grounds for a suite. He is entitled to equal treatment under the law and his
    religious right to make as much noise as the religion across the street. The FFRF and ACLU can get evolved. Maybe play soundtracks of news reports of
    priest molesting children on Sundays during services. Fight fire with fire.

    • TeeDee

      I had the exact same idea about him playing some loud ‘satanic’ music and ‘devil noises’. Then see how his rights are honored. There’s some church that sets up a gospel music festival in a nearby ‘public park’ and blasts it ALL freakin’ day every summer, where I live. I have to close all the windows and turn on every fan just to mute it slightly. :/

      • randomfactor

        Still better: invite an Islamic group to meet at his house for a while. The call to prayer will be even less welcome to those advocating “freedom of religion.”

        • Sue Blue

          Yeah, I was just going to say that, but you beat me to it. He should get a recording of a muezzin (sp?) and blast it out five times a day at full volume. When he gets complaints or the cops come out, just claim it’s his religious right to remind all faithful Muslims within earshot to pray.

      • SecularPatriot

        Sorry :(

        I live downtown in a major city and with the exception of the occasional 10-20 minute concert finale on Saturday nights at the local (major and internationally recognized) stadium that is 1/2 mile from our apartment, things are actually pretty damn quiet.

        I find it amusing to think that people in more rural areas have to deal with that bullshit.

    • LutherW

      How about some Devil worshipers, or maybe a branch of the KKK. Both could make their noises and light some smokey fires throughout the night hours.

    • ShoeUnited

      I was going to say start a church of sex. The government can’t establish nor rule against the establishment of any religion. You can say and point to how the light of the afterglow has brought happiness to all across the world.

      And then around the same times the bells ring, blare the sound of sloppy ballslapping sex for a solid minute. Sex has been proven to benefit mankind for thousands of years.

    • Alan Sachok

      Along that same line of thought .Over ten years ago I lived
      in a quiet neighborhood in Ct.and enjoyed my peaceful Saturdays off until a new family moved in on the opposite corner from me.Their childrens friends would park their cars out front some times for hours with that full bass crap booming as to rattle every house around .Well diplomatic attempts were useless. But six giant speaker cabs and 800 watts per channel out the window aimed at them from 7am to 10 pm on Sunday was my only option .Well the heavy metal didnt do but Patsy Cline on a loop for 15 hrs did the trick .They surrendered and a truce was made.lol .It took five Sundays and the understanding of my neighbors but sometimes being an absolute prick within the law works like a charm….

    • UWIR

      Or find out where the church leaders live and set it up there.

    • Paula M Smolik

      suit

  • 3lemenope

    I can sneeze on St. Thomas More Church from where I work.

    The bells are not at what I would consider a disruptive or unreasonable volume.

    That aside, the Catholics claiming privilege and saying its OK not because the volume is reasonable but because even if it were unreasonable Jesus makes it OK, that continues to be embarrassing.

    • rovinrockhound

      I’m guessing that you are not at your workplace at 7:45 am every Sunday, possibly sleeping. Or that you just got your colicky baby to fall asleep, at your office, right before the church “announced” a wedding. Or that the bells make the dogs throughout your workplace bark like maniacs, every single time they go off.

      Acoustics are a complicated thing. Maybe the geometry of the buildings damps the sound for you but amplifies it for him.

      • 3lemenope

        I’m guessing that you are not at your workplace at 7:45 am every Sunday

        Gosh no. Much earlier than that.

        possibly sleeping.

        Sometimes it feels that way!

        Acoustics are a complicated thing. Maybe the geometry of the buildings damps the sound for you but amplifies it for him.

        It’s possible but unlikely. The more parsimonious explanation is the guy is kinda whiny. After all, he blamed the loss of his marriage on the bells, which says to me that he is too emotionally compromised on the issue to effectively reason about causation.

        • rovinrockhound

          The point is that the level of noise that one is willing to put up with at one’s place of work is different from the noise that’s acceptable in one’s home. I put up with the sound of an air compressor being used to clean machinery at work (it’s loud, unpredictable, and whistles) because I’m supposed to be awake and engaged, and it’s expected for the job. The same sound would drive me bonkers at home because I am NOT supposed to be awake and engaged.

          Yeah, maybe the guy is whiny. The bells have been there for many years already and he’s claiming some pretty ridiculous stuff, but that is not enough to automatically claim that he’s wrong.

          • 3lemenope

            The point is that the level of noise that one is willing to put up with at one’s place of work is different from the noise that’s acceptable in one’s home.

            This is true. I posted an anecdote about a noise source where I live, elsewhere on the thread, for contrast.

            that is not enough to automatically claim that he’s wrong.

            Quite so. That’s why I mixed my personal experience of the bells in to come to my conclusion that he is basically wrong. Most people here on this thread don’t have the same experience with these particular bells that I do, and so I wouldn’t expect them to come to the same conclusion.

    • TeeDee

      Then why did they need to spend money on amplifiers to make the bells even louder? Just wondering, since you both have different opinions on this…

      • 3lemenope

        No, the amp is the bell. There were no bells at all, and then they brought in electronic bells twelve years ago. Since then they have been at the same volume.

        By comparison, I live (in a village called Peace Dale the next town over from Narragansett) about five hundred feet from a fire station, and this particular fire station, since it opens directly onto a residential road, has a FSM damn air horn that announces whenever a truck is pulling out of one of the bays. You can hear this air horn *on the other side of town* when it goes off. Compared to that noise, the church bells at Thomas More are a mere tinkling. Nobody is suing the town over the fire station, and certainly not blaming their dissolving marriage on it.

        • ShoeUnited

          I don’t know how many sones the bells are, but I merely want to point out that the fire station has to be that loud for public safety. I understand what you’re trying to get at, but it’s a bit apples and oranges here. The church isn’t putting out any fires and doesn’t need the roads clear so people can thank Jesus.

          • 3lemenope

            The church isn’t putting out any fires and doesn’t need the roads clear so people can thank Jesus.

            An excellent point. But trust me when I say it doesn’t have to be as loud as it is to warn impending drivers of a truck pulling out. It’s loud the way a shotgun blast at fifteen feet is loud.

            • ShoeUnited

              It may be due to more standardized equipment and possibly regulations. I’m sure they bought their fire equipment from the same places as major cities that have huge traffic and construction. You may be able discuss at a town meeting to have it reduced somewhat. I don’t know if they would/could, but I understand the pain of something near 100 dB. If you’re living in a sleepy little hamlet it’s certainly something you can discuss at a town hall. But I think we’re drifting on the topic here. Probably my fault.

            • ShoeUnited

              Additionally because I don’t know when to quit, if the firehouse is more than 60 or 70 years old that actually probably marked the edge of town. When Urban Dev. became necessary firehouses were placed within an overlapping radius to minimize distance to a fire. But older firehouses were placed at the edge of town so that everyone knew there was a fire, but no residents were bothered tremendously by the noise of the initial siren. Which can be interesting for people like me who like to note these kinds of things. I find it fun to see where the edge of town was (a dozen blocks or less from the city center) and compare it to where it is (several miles away).

              Anyway! Enough sidetracking out of me.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    I’m not a Bible lover, obviously, but I think one of the pleasures of living in a downtown area is the sound of church bells. It just sounds urban to me. I usually frown upon people who move into a downtown area with a lot of churches and then complain about the sound of bells (they’re a lot like the people who move into the Oceana area in Virginia Beach and then complain about the jet noise). But this situation is different, since the church bell wasn’t operational for the first six years he lived there, so he has a very valid reason to complain, IMHO.

    I don’t think houses of worship should have a blanket exemption from noise ordinances, but grandfather clauses make sense to me. There are plenty of downtown churches that have been ringing their bells for a century or more, and I really wouldn’t want to hear them all silenced. Unfortunately that wouldn’t help this guy, as the church would presumably be grandfathered under any new statute that was passed. I also think it would be reasonable for church bells to be permitted, but not electronically amplified church bells. That way they are much less irritating– pretty without being jarring.

    • McAtheist

      But won’t someone think of the Acousticophobiacs, Ecclesiophobiacs, Ligyrophobiacs, Staurophobiacs and the Teleophobiacs?
      Mr. Devaney may actually (unbeknownst to himself) be plagued by at least one of these diseases. In fact, after consulting with my associates Dr. Google, Dr. Bing and Dr. Firefox I am convinced this is so. Perhaps a lawsuit to save his health and sanity, with appropriate damages claimed would be more effective than a noise by-law complaint.
      Yours truly
      Dr. Bing Baidu.

      So that you don’t have to open the dictionary:

      Fear of:
      Noise- Acousticophobia.
      Noises, loud- Ligyrophobia.
      Church- Ecclesiophobia.
      Religious ceremonies- Teleophobia.
      Crosses or the crucifix- Staurophobia.

      • McAtheist

        It is most likely ‘late onset Ligyrophobia’. However the bells may have
        exacerbated a pre-existing condition over 12 years.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Wow. You’re an asshole.

  • Sean

    I have a similar suggestion to Savoy47. However, he should get the giant speakers and then “rent” that part of his property to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    During any services at the church, very loud pirate ditties and Irish drinking songs should be played celebrating the Beer Volcano.

  • Erp

    Well a new feature was added, electronic amplification. i’m also not sure how well Catholics do bells (a proper Anglican peal is another matter and needs no amplification).

    I’m just waiting for the first amplified Muslim call for prayers in the town. With a blanket exemption there would be no prohibition on when or how loud which would be well before dawn every day.

    • Frank Mitchell

      Were this a muezzin and not church bells, there would be public outcries, town council hearings, and mobs with torches and pitchforks.

      • 3lemenope

        Why would you say that? In most US communities where there is a Muslim public call to prayer, there are no issues. I sometimes get the impression, fair or not, that liberal Americans think everyone else in America are drooling bigoted monsters rather than people.

        • Frank Mitchell

          In most communities where there is a Muslim public call to prayer there’s also a significant number of Muslims, and a community that’s generally used to it. Also, living in Texas makes one painfully aware of the heights of Christian privilege and the depths of conservative bigotry. (A senior police officer and part-time teacher once told me in all seriousness and no small amount of anger that Islam wasn’t a religion but a political movement for total world domination. A local radio station’s billboard proclaimed as a selling point that “liberals hate it”. And so on.) From the Alquist case I assume Rhode Island isn’t too different.

          • 3lemenope

            In most communities where there is a Muslim public call to prayer there’s also a significant number of Muslims, and a community that’s generally used to it.

            This doesn’t really make much sense. There was always a time before the time when they had a public call to prayer. In *most* cases in the US, that wasn’t exactly before living memory. So either people acclimate well and quickly to the presence of the Islamic call to prayer (which is what I’m arguing is actually the case) or somehow all the many pitchfork mob incidents throughout the US as mosques have established public calls to prayer have been memory-holed.

            One of these is a bit more likely.

            From the Ahlquist case I assume Rhode Island isn’t too different.

            You’d be wrong. Not, by any means, about the presence of the privilege, but rather about its general form and what antagonists it identifies as worthy of stupidly lashing out at. In Rhode Island, there isn’t exactly a groundswell of anti-Muslim sentiment. On the other hand, we’re sill dicks to atheists.

            • Frank Mitchell

              It’s also possible that a Muslim majority in the neighborhood precedes a mosque that trumpets a daily call to prayer before dawn. I’d expect that in most neighborhoods the mosque would seek official permits to make noise early in the morning; some might do so despite a religious exemption, just to be on the safe side.

              In any case, the “torches and pitchforks” bit was intended as humorous exaggeration. Mobs in modern times carry picket signs, frequently misspelled.

              • 3lemenope

                Mobs in modern times carry picket signs, frequently misspelled.

                Which, besides being more entertaining, are also much less stabby and burny.

              • Brian Westley

                That’s about what happened in Hamtramck, MI.

        • UWIR

          “liberal Americans think everyone else in America are drooling bigoted monsters rather than people.”
          Certainly, the vast majority of Americans are bigots.

  • Tat Wadjet

    Also, re: voting.. In google you can vote twice. Once in a regular window, once in an incognito window.

    • CoboWowbo

      If you have multiple browsers, you can also vote more than once.

    • UWIR

      If you set up separate Google users , does it allow voting from each of them?

  • LesterBallard

    There is too much fucking noise in the world, period.

    • Trickster Goddess

      I have always longed for the day when internal combustion engines are obsolete.

      • Brian Westley

        Yeah, but noise is added to electric cars that are too quiet to sufficiently warn pedestrians…

    • Right to quiet

      It steams me to no end that that church, or any church, feels entitled to blast sound into the eardrums of people who are outside (even well outside) its own property. The leaders of that church are inconsiderate self-centered f*ckwad narcissists. It’s absolutely no different from an a-hole motorist blasting his music system, or an unmuffled motorcycle, disturbing your home life. John Devaney is 100% right to complain, and, if the church doesn’t respond, sue. Exempting religious institutions from noise regulations is, of course, completely not OK — that needs to change!! More power to you, Mr. Devaney; you have my unqualified support. I’ll be watching how this unfolds…

  • randomfactor

    It’s a shame the church couldn’t simply turn off the amplification and see if that works.

  • baal

    “Last year I took this photo of my actual view”
    YOU BASTARD! (I want to be there.)

    • Terry Firma

      Two million tourists a year flock to the island where I live (it’s mostly a national park). You’re welcome to join them! ;-)

      • Rain

        Google+ is the place for photography glory. Some photographers have millions of followers over there. But you have to do a bit of hustling and self promotion on there. FYI!

    • ShoeUnited

      Don’t let him fool you, I saw some clever photo manipulation on an iMac that I restored after typing ‘enhance’ on my keyboard a few dozen times and playing an episode of CSI. It’s probably even worse than a Hard Rock!

      http://i.imgur.com/2hedA6j.jpg

      • 3lemenope

        It’s probably even worse than a Hard Rock!

        “Hey, I’ve been in a fire fight! Well, I’ve been in a fire. [...] Actually, I was fired, from a fry-cook opportunity.”

  • busdriver

    I’m totally against churches being exempt from the municipal ordinances . However as someone that worked the overnight shift and slept during the day I laugh when I hear people complain about noise interrupting their quiet time. Nobody ever cares that they make as much noises during the day as possible as long as it’s quiet at night when most people sleep.

    • Baby_Raptor

      I feel you on this. It’s next to impossible to get a noise complaint taken seriously during the day, and I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve been told to “just get a real job and sleep at night like normal people.”

      • RedGreenInBlue

        Seriously? I’ll have to tell that one to my intensive-care consultant wife who regularly works through the night, and her medical and nursing colleagues. Oh, how they’ll laugh!

        (On a side note, it’s interesting to note how often “normal people” is used as a shorthand for “people who agree with me and behave as I want them to”.)

  • Jasper

    Times like this I wish I didn’t care about being labelled a religion, so I could set up my own noise factory under those blanket exemptions.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It has been going on for 12 years and he is just now taking it this far. Why did he wait so long to file a suit? That in my opinion does not help his case. Hard to say something truly bothers you when you have dealt with it for 12 years. Now if he has been fighting them for 12 years I’ll redact my comment but it doesn’t seem that way.

    • Jasper

      Unfortunately, some suits are lost that way, and I think illegitimately. That’s why the Austin 10-commandments are still up – they’ve been grandfathered in. People didn’t complain before because they afraid… but that doesn’t magically make the infraction okay.

      It shouldn’t matter if he waited 12 years or 12,000. Maybe he’s just now overcoming whatever inhibitions he’s had. This case has already seen the putrid reactions from the theists, so it may be warranted.

      • 3lemenope

        On the other side, it is reasonable to expect people to complain about something that’s bothering them somewhat promptly, since complaints are one of the only ways a person can know that their behavior is bothering others. Sitting in a corner and steaming is ineffective, but it is also unfair to the people who you have a grievance with; they are not mind-readers.

        And, twelve years ago in RI, things were pretty much as they are now. So I don’t think he can effectively argue, like the Austin case, that he would have spoke up sooner but feared for retaliation in a way that he doesn’t now.

      • Kevin_Of_Bangor

        It does matter to me he has waited 12 years because he lived there from day one of the bell ringing. If he had been fighting this for 12 years I would be on his side without a problem but he hasn’t.

        • TeeDee

          I thought the bell ringing didn’t start till 6 years after he moved in. And the notion that he should have complained immediately sounds rather silly. Most people try to ‘put up with things’ as long as possible (for many different reasons) and then complain when it becomes too much, I would think.

          • Kevin_Of_Bangor

            They bought the house 18 years ago. The Bells started ringing 6 years after. That is 12 years he has dealt with it.

            The church bell did not operate when he and his now ex-wife bought the 1885 clapboard house — the former parish rectory –– 18 years ago.

            About six years later a new church administrator came in. The bell was upgraded to operate electronically. It began ringing, its sounds amplified, the suit says.

            • TeeDee

              Thanks for the clarification, Kevin. I guess I read too quickly at times!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I should soon be filing suit over an incident that occurred almost three years ago (the limit under state law). I had several reasons to hold off, at first because (a) the people involved are unstable and had access to my nephew, and (b) I had chronic, crippling anxiety that had to be brought under control before going to court, later because filing costs a fair amount of money and I kept running across emergency expenses. It’s entirely possible that something else will come up this month and I’ll have to forego it entirely in order to, say, have a working car.

      The time that has passed might hurt my case. I’m hopeful because, among other things, I know for a fact that the future defendants have pissed off the local judges (testifying on the witness stand that you intentionally stopped paying child support for years because there was a custody conflict and implying that you wanted to starve out the ex-wife is SUPER SMART).

      Of course, his reasons might not relate to such things at all, or even be comprehensible. But reasons for long delays do exist, and decent judges ask about them and pay attention to the answers.

      • 3lemenope

        Three years with solid reasons is totes reasonable.

        Twelve years with none is, I think, pushing it a bit.

  • Jason Bock

    “The bells are getting LOUDER!!”

    I’m surprised no one has quoted the Monty Python skit yet… :)

    • Terry Firma

      Blimey. Thanks Jason, I took care of that just now — embedded the video! ;-)

  • Beth

    Yeah, a church here plays several songs everyday at noon. It’s right across the street from my work and a city park. It you want to go outside on your lunch break you spend half of it forced to listen to church music. I wonder how the fundies would feel if it was the call to prayer five times a day.

  • pagansister

    I taught in a Catholic school in downtown Providence,RI. The 100 year old school is across the street from the older church. The church also rings it’s bells, amplified, at about the same times as the one described in the article. The church is in a neighborhood and as far as I know, no one complained about the bells. Actually, it was tuned out by most folks.

  • Mommiest

    Sunday morning, during church services, is a marvelous time to mow your lawn. Loudly.

    • cary_w

      Sorry, had to down-vote you on this. One of the few benefits of living among the religious fanatics is the blissful silence on Sunday morning. If you start running your damn lawn mower on Sunday morning, I’m coming after you!

      I prefer to put on my comfiest clothes and walk my adorable dog past the churches and watch all the parents squirm as they try to explain to their whiney kids why they had to get up early, put on scratchy, uncomfortable clothes, and be bored to tears for hours while other people get to sleep in, put on t-shirts and shorts, and play with their dogs on Sunday morning. While it’s sad to see the longing in those poor kid’s eyes, I feel like it helps them in the long run to see a little taste of freedom!

      • Mommiest

        On the other hand, mowing your lawn during church services, weddings, etc., is a simple way to let them know that you can legally make noise too, and if they would just lower the volume of their bells, you could certainly find another time to do yard work.

  • McAtheist

    I have often wondered why christians don’t just set their alarm clocks.
    That way they would only wake themselves up with sleep shattering bell noises.

  • newavocation

    I think the volume of church bells is directly proportional to how empty the church is on Sunday mornings. And maybe in some ways like the musicians on the deck of the sinking Titanic.

    • McAtheist

      I like the Titanic analogy.

  • John the Drunkard

    Well, just incorporate your house as a chapel to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and play Funiculi-funicula at earsplitting decibel levels during church services.

    More seriously: bells…hmmm. Amplified bells? Nah.

  • Renshia

    Put a bounty on the speaker horn. Tell the kids you will pay 100.00 per horn. Problem solved.

  • katiehippie

    The church I used to attend spent over a year trying to decide where to put a new second sign. (one had the name of the church, the new one had removable letters to announce special events) They finally got it up and someone from the city told them it didn’t follow the ordinance of one sign. Oh boy did people get hot under the collar but I was glad the city was enforcing. I told some of the church people that we should have bought a sign like Sonic Drive in has and stick it on top of the church so we really could get people to come. All flashy and bright! They frowned at me. I was only half kidding. Sonic sure is busy all the time…..

  • Rain

    Nice picture!

  • UWIR

    It’s kinda hard to have a twist reveal when it’s in your blog post title. Also, I think you should have used a fictional establishment rather than Hard Rock.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Why wouldn’t a church be subject to the same rules

    Because Jesus.

  • LucyLastic

    I wonder if the locals would have the same response should a mosque be broadcasting the call to prayer five times a day? Exemptions for *all* religions, yeah?

  • evodevo

    Just be happy it doesn’t have a carillon blasting hymns for hours every day ….

  • evodevo

    You also might be interested in this story, from Georgetown, Ky. from the ’90′s ….this is from a book written by the lawyer – David French – who represented the church (my son was involved collaterally since he was in the rock band at the time)

    http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/cms_content?page=191489&event=CF
    Eventually the plaintiffs gave up and moved…..

  • Dana

    The Catholic Church across the street has some sort of BUZZER that sounds when someone opens the door (confession?). I guess so the priest can hear it from the rectory a little further down the street? I hate it so much. You’d think they could afford something that only rings inside the rectory instead of notifying the neighborhood.

    I can tolerate bells, for the most part. They can be too much at the end of a wedding, though.


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