If you happen to be a church, you can disturb the peace as much as you like, it seems.
The All Nations Centre in London is an evangelical church – and the happy-clappy evangelicals just love to make noises. Not happy, it seems, with singing in their church, which is OK, enjoyable and all part of the service, the church has to amplify it, for some reason.
In an emailed press release, the Christian Legal Centre – which helped the church to defend itself successfully against a noise-abatement notice from the local council, resulting in an out-of-court settlement – says the church believes the council has got it in for it, that it doesn’t like evangelicals.
“The complaint has nothing to do with the noise and everything to do with our faith,” Pastor Abraham Sackey is quoted as saying. “Lambeth Council are driving us out and we feel harassed.”
Sounds odd to me. Why would a council take against a church, just because it’s a church?
The Christian Legal centre says, “The use of Noise Abatement Notices is an issue of concern as recently it is being used effectively to categorise worship/the singing of hymns as Noise Pollution.”
But the notice was served because the music is being amplified. Otherwise, why are all churches across the land not receiving complaints?
Clearly not understanding the concept of non sequitur, Kate Hoey, the local MP, says, “They have been serving the local community for many years, consistently helping to improve the quality of life and overall wellbeing of people within the local community . . . It was therefore with a mixture of surprise and concern that I learned that they were served with a noise abatement notice.”
They can have been the acme of virtue, but if they’re making a noise they’re making a noise. Their record on what they may or may not have done in the local community is totally irrelevant. But politicians do that sort of thing, and the pity is that most people are taken in. She also wants the votes.
Sackey is further quoted as saying, “The Church believes that the Council’s withdrawal is an attempt to conceal what happened and which has been ongoing for some time, not only in Lambeth but nationally. The leaders of the church maintained from the very outset that the notice had nothing to do with noise but rather was further evidence of the ongoing campaign of religious hatred and intimidation against evangelical Christians.”
So any mere criticism of a church is some kind of victimisation. Come on! We live in a country that still bends over backwards to accommodate religion. Do we yet again have to instance the many religious schools, paid for by the taxpayer, and the religious “advisers” the government is taking on? The 26 bishops in the House of Lords?
That sort of victimisation?
The fact is that, if you’re making excessive noise, it’s only fair to your neighbours if the local authority tells you to pipe down a bit.
Or don’t you follow the “love thy neighbour” principle that somebody or other propounded a couple of millennia ago?