This is a letter that I sent to the Western Star in Bessemer, that they elected not to publish. But you will still get a chance to read it, because I'll put it on Bessemer Opinions:
The more I think about it, the more I consider the inappropriateness of Mayor Ed May’s Town Hall meetings. I have not attended many of them recently, but I used to attend them all when he was first elected eight years ago.
The modern concept of town halls brings to mind large meeting rooms like the auditorium at City Hall, or the auditoriums in the numerous public schools in our city.
The mayor chooses to conduct his Town Hall meetings in the security of a church, and the meetings bear some resemblance to the service one might hear on a Sunday morning.
At a recent Town Hall meeting in a local church we heard how the recent pattern of scattered thunderstorms, for instance, was pre-determined by God. That didn’t bother me too much, as someone’s uneducated belief about the weather doesn’t concern me, unless that person is the one in charge of issuing tornado warnings, for instance, the paths of which I think are determined by natural forces and not the hand of God taking aim at certain ones of us.
But at a meeting three years ago after the tragic death of 14 year old Josh Hughes the mayor offered a solution to the crime problem in Bessemer that does affect me as well as the rest of Bessemer’s citizens.
The solution to violent crime, according to the mayor, rather than increased police protection would be for each one of the audience members, to tell another resident about Jesus and for that resident to do the same, until all of Bessemer had converted.
The recent murder of 23 year old Maurice Thomas at a Bessemer club shows how well that strategy has worked.
Conducting Town Hall meetings in churches is exclusionary because not all citizens feel comfortable in a particular church, or any church, for that matter. Government should be separate from religion, and combining the two, even on this level, is dangerous and inappropriate.
We have plenty of public buildings throughout our city where this type of meeting could be held, and in buildings that are paid for and owned by the citizens, we would all feel welcome.
(PS - Disclosure: I have no control over the ads that appear below the posts. I mean, which ads. I don't necessarily approve or endorse the products or politicians or whatevers that may appear.)