The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘mosque

Pastor Responds to the Rumor Mill Around a Mosque in Mayfield

with one comment

Last Tuesday, the Mayfield zoning board denied a request for a conditional use permit to open a mosque in the city’s downtown because of limited parking. It’s expected the petitioners will file another application for a different site, but a location has not yet been determined.

Later that same week, Mayfield Mayor Arthur Byrn, City Planner Brad Rodgers, and the local Pilgrim’s Pride plant manager met with some Graves County pastors to help dispel rumors connected to Somali Muslims who live and work in the county.

Joe Farrone, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Mayfield, has been processing the conversation. He said, “I think they [city officials] called us together because they see pastors as communicators to the community. Congregations are a large part of the community.” Farrone said that some congregants, though none from his church, have raised questions about the Somalis, many of whom work at Pilgrim’s Pride. “One of the rumors was that Pilgrim’s Pride was bringing the Somalis in,” he said. “Rumor was some Hispanic workers were let go because they were illegal.” Allegedly, the Somalis were recruited as replacements for these workers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Angela Hatton

August 31, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Our Peculiar History of Religious Tolerance

with 2 comments

by Todd Hatton

The vote has been taken and Mayfield, Kentucky will have no mosque, at least not yet, and certainly not in any location with so little parking.  What should have been decided in a formality was rejected on a technicality, but I can’t say that the lack of transparency with which Mayfield’s zoning board first decided to approve the mosque’s conditional use permit is ever a good thing.  On the other hand, it’s difficult to see how anyone can vote their dissenting conscience under the reproving glare of a roomful of one’s neighbors.

Whether or not the results of the zoning board’s vote surprised anyone, or whether or not we approve of the result, it is of a piece with our history of dealing with religious minorities.  I’m a big fan of the notion that we can’t understand our present without understanding our past, and when the controversy over a mosque in Mayfield began to appear, I went back to a book I’d read over a year ago after hearing an interview with the author on Krista Tippett’s Speaking of Faith program.

Steven Waldman is the author of Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty and the CEO of Beliefnet.com, the largest faith and spirituality website.  The book, in the main, is about the development of the First Amendment, religious freedom, and today’s contention over the separation of church and state.  Waldman, however, begins his book by painting a picture of religion in early America.  It is at once alien to our modern sensibilities and a little too familiar.

For instance, government officials in one state blocked the building of place of worship for one religious minority.  They were responding to what was perceived as an existential threat by a sect that had, in the past, committed atrocities, fought them in wars, and, it was believed, behind the actions of foreign governments against them.

This wasn’t New York or Mayfield in 2010, it was Maryland in 1700.   Read the rest of this entry »

morning cram [bacteria edition]

leave a comment »

“There are some encouraging signs from the Gulf of Mexico that bacteria are consuming the underwater oil plume from the broken BP well.”

~NPR hears there is no shortage of surprises from a microbial point of view.

KENTUCKY~ Mayfield denies a proposed mosque citing parking issues to cheers from crowds wearing Christian T-shirts; petitioners have about a month to appeal. Paducah’s Convention Center board wants to sell the naming rights to the Expo Center for $275k. 2 Christian County School employees are credited for thwarting an attempted child abduction. Beshear makes KCHIP (health insurance) premiums a thing of the past. TVA plans to shutdown a McCracken County coal power plant unit and possibly replace it with a biomass operation. An Illinois fishing company wants to build an Asian Carp processing plant in Wickliffe. What went wrong with the Commonwealth’s bid for federal Race to the Top funds!?

TENNESSEE~ 2 Clarksville Police officers’ slander lawsuit is dismissed, but will (probably) be refiled.

ILLINOIS~ After sobbing over not winning Race to the Top money, the state will press on with school reforms.