30 March 2008

Churches: Tone Down Those Praises!

The Faith Baptist Church of Waterford Michigan is simply too loud. All that "praising the Lord" stuff is really starting to annoy their neighbors. And they are not alone. Al-Islah Islamic Center in Hamtramck Michigan was playing their call to prayer a couple of years ago and found themselves in a legal wrangle over how loud is too loud when it comes to reminders of God.

Now, I've always supported the concept of removing mandatory prayer from the public schools, but do they need to be removed from churches as well? In a Footloose reversal, Faith Baptist found the police raiding their sanctuary to silence the crazy rock-n-roll tunes those nutty Baptists were playing. Apparently their neighbors expected monastic stoicism on high holy days and weren't ready for Slash meets Jesus. As for the Al-Islah Islamic Center, the problem revolved around their call to prayer being played over loudspeakers. I suppose the locals thought they should be seen but not heard. Word of warning to the uninitiated: a mosque is not a library.

I happen to live close to a Catholic Church. I'm not a parishioner there, but I actually enjoy the Sunday morning bells that ring a call to worship. It reminds me that, in a world fraught with skepticism, there are those gathered in the spirit of worship in the hope of a better world. The same is true of a mosque's call to worship. I may be crazy, but I want to sense God through both sight and sound. However, the next time the guy next door cranks his snow blower at 4:00 am . . .