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-Federal Court: Church Bells are Constitutional

by Dr. D ~ April 23rd, 2010

Bell in the Cathedral Church of Saint Matthew,...
(Image via Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (RNS) A federal court ruled on Monday (April 19) that a Phoenix, Arizona ordinance limiting the sound of church bells was ‘an unconstitutional impingement on religious expression’.

Neighbors complained about the ringing bells of Christ the King Cathedral in Phoenix in 2007 claiming that it violated a city noise ordinance. The city filed a complaint against the church last year and the pastor- Bishop Rick Painter ended up being found guilty in city court and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years probation.

The conviction was appealed and other churches joined with Christ the King Cathedral to overturn the restriction. The the federal court ruled in favor of the church bells, saying the city cannot prohibit “sound generated in the course of religious expression.”

Response: This is really good news for the church. If church bells sound rather trivial then you should be aware that there are other cases in different cities where neighbors have complained about the worship music coming from churches. This at least provides a legal basis to dismiss those kind of complaints.

My only concern is that as a general principal I believe churches should go out of their way to make their neighbors happy though sometimes as in this case it is clearly not possible.

However there is one possibility that sends chills up my spine. Could this ruling unleash one of my greatest nightmares? A Muslim tower with loudspeakers and a mullah calling a quiet American neighborhood to prayer in Arabic 5 times a day.            *Top

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