I’m a Christian, but I detest organized religion; it just doesn’t make any sense to me. If faith is supposed to be each individual’s personal relationship with whatever God they worship, why the need for human-made rules to tell them how to do that? Besides, human history – and even present day – has provided us with a seemingly endless list of horrific atrocities that have been carried out in the name of organized religion. If your God is telling you to hate, harm, control or kill another person or group of people, you need to find a new God.
But as a Christian, there’s this guy who went by the name of Jesus Christ who stood for values that all Christians are supposed to try to live their lives by. Those values included such things as loving thy neighbor, not judging others, helping the poor and needy, being forgiving and basically just being a good person. These are values that everyone should abide by, they’re not mutually exclusive to Christianity. Which is why I’ve said before that even if you’re not a Christian, the values for which Jesus Christ represents (not the ones conservatives have distorted) – even if you just view him as a symbol of something and not a real person – are universally humane. Even if you don’t believe in any kind of faith whatsoever, I think most sane people can agree that being loving, kind, giving, good and forgiving are virtues by which we should all strive to live our lives.
Yet these are virtues that the Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco apparently don’t care about. It seems the church has installed “No Trespassing” signs and an illegal watering system over parts of the church that some homeless have used for shelter from time to time.
The system apparently runs for around 75 seconds every 30-60 minutes.
“We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in,” a homeless man said. “Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick.”
Jesus Christ would be so proud, wouldn’t he? Nothing says “good Christian values” quite like illegally installing a watering system (in a drought-stricken state, no less) to ward off some of the poorest among us.
But there is some good news. After this story gained some traction, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection determined that the system violated city code and ordered the church to have it removed.
However, even with the city ordering the church to remove the system, that doesn’t negate the fact that they went to such lengths to ward off some of the most needy among us. While the San Francisco Archdiocese has come out with a statement apologizing for the “ill-conceived” system, it’s clear the only reason why the church is taking it down is because they’re being forced to.
I try not to hold ill will toward those who apologize for their actions, but some apologies are clearly more meaningful than others. I can’t help but question the authenticity of an apology from someone who only apologies after being caught doing something appalling. In many cases, I believe they’re not really sorry for what they did – they’re just sorry that they got caught.
It really makes one wonder what Pope Francis thinks of this church pulling this stunt, considering the Vatican just announced they were installing showers in St. Peter’s Square with soap, towels and clean underwear for the homeless.
Watch a report on the system below via CBS SF: