Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Should Churches Be Allowed to Construct Cell Towers Disguised as Steeples?

If you happen to be familiar with the nursery rhyme “Here’s the Church” then you may have asked yourself at one point or another, “what’s a steeple?” If you’re not familiar with the nursery rhyme it goes like this:

“Here is the church the church, here is the steeple
Open the doors and see all the people.
Here is the parson going upstairs,
And here he is saying his prayers.”

There are hand movements that go along with it, kind of like Miss Mary Mack. Anyhow back to the steeple, what’s its point? According to David England of the Religious Product News, “The vertical lines of the steeple helped to visually enhance the lines of the church, directing the viewers' eyes vertically to the heavens.

So if a church is going to use the architectural influences of the 1700s, then why not update it with technology from the 21st century? It seems rather efficient. However, some residents of Phoenix, Arizona believe a cell tower disguised as a church steeple is an eyesore and the President of the North Central Phoenix Homeowner’s Association Mary Crozier even said, “"Unfortunately, it doesn't serve any religious purpose other than to line the pockets of the lease holder.” (Source: KPHO)

While some may believe this to be true, steeples have been around since the 18th century when King George I ascended the throne. “This verticality complements part of the mission of the church, to keep us in a heavenly frame of mind, but from an architectural standpoint, this vertical lift gives the architecture a more graceful and pleasing look,” England explains.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act took down unnecessary regulatory barriers to entry, such as governments denying the placement of cell phone towers for aesthetic or potential health reasons. A U.S. district judge also recently ruled that the city of Phoenix has no say regarding the construction of church steeples or what is inside them. Crossroads Church is in the process of constructing their steeple with a cell tower inside. The city’s legal department is going over the ruling to see if they can appeal or try to change zoning ordinances.

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