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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Our town is caught up in quite the little debate. I must admit, I have not deeply examined the issues before us, but these are my initial thoughts. (If you have a differing opinion, feel free to share it in comments. But please understand, I"m not stating any of this as fact...just my first thoughts.)

Those opposing the school have nothing better to do with their time. At least, that's my first thought. But then I wonder if the only reason I think so is because I know (and like) two of the members of the School Board, while I don't know anyone who is vocally opposing the school building. Am I more sympathic to the School Board just because of two people I know? (Of course, someone opposing a new school building wrote into the paper today and said that the school board makes Sadam Hussein look like a choirboy. That didn't help sway my opinion.)

What should you do when you don't agree with elected officials? So we elected a school board (or at least, most of the members). They decided we need a new school building and begin moving forward. Maybe I wasn't around during school board campains, but didn't that issue come up when people were running? Doesn't that mean people elected were probably asked whether they supported a new school? So when elected officials make a decision you don't like, should we step in to stop it...or just not vote them in again? It just seems to me that a democratic republic takes a hit if I think I should interrupt the process every time I don't like the results. If we don't want a new building, can't we still block it by not giving the school board any extra money through levies?

Is the city really torn apart over this? According to local media, this issue has our town torn right in half. Letters to the editor are filled with correspondence from people outraged at the school and local government. I've watched other people I know and respect have their motives and actions questioned on unrelated issues. Despite a good track record, and strong character, other public officials have faced extreme cynicism. We live in a wonderful city. Unfortunately, wonderful cities with little controversy doesn't sell. Therefore, it seems that governement, and it's officials, are regularly considered guilty until proven innocent. Is most of the city willing to trust the city council, the mayor and the school board...but that makes for boring news.

Do I have any business talking about this? You may be upset with my last three questions because you disagree. You may be upset because you have reservations about a pastor sharing his opinion on political issues. I share your concern.

I've never understood this whole politics/pastoring thing. Am I allowed to put a sticker on my car for a representative? If someone in my church runs for office, am I allowed to put their sign in my yard? If our town is in the middle of a debate, do I just ignore it? It seems that the nature of the gospel puts a pastor in controversy well enough on its own. Do I really need to add to controversy by getting involved in politics? Let me know what you think.

I'm seriously wondering. (If I should keep silent on issues, it's much better to find out through a blog that no one reads, than through some other outlet.)

6 Comments:

  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    seriously, if you have a different opinion about the school building thing, let me know. i haven't really discussed this issue with anyone, so i'd love to hear other views.

    and if you don't think this is the place to have the discussion, please GRACIOUSLY tell me.

     
  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    Great place for the discussion! We've got a wide variety of role models to choose from. There's Oliver Cromwell, the English Puritan who disbanded Parliament and had the King executed, to Christopher Sauer, the Brethren printer who sat out the American Revolution and suffered the indignity of watching pages of his German Bible being shredded for use as musket wadding.

    The tension is between our responibility as a private citizen and our responsibilities as a leader of God's flock. I believe we must bring biblical thinking to bear on all areas of life and all public issues without selling our souls to a political party or getting sucked into the quagmire of politics. We must not trade down from Godly authority to political power.

     
  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Jones said…

    I personally think we do need a new school, but the schools have absolutely no money, and that needs to be taken care of first. Teachers are being laid off and because of that, the classes are becoming packed, and teachers are responsible for buying any supplies they may need to teach. Once we get that taken care of, I agree we need a new school building. Two years ago the Jr. High had to have three lunch periods, one at 10:00 because the cafeterias couldn't hold all the students. This year the High School has split into three lunch periods because of the same problem. Some classes have any where from 22-25 students. The schools definately need a levy to pass soon, otherwise it's going to get ugly.

    As for the people who are against the levy, I know that the school board hasn't always made the best desicions with money and that makes the people upset when the school board asks for more. An example of that is giving our ex superintendant a two year contract and then kicking him out a year later. Some people are struggling as it is financially and they really can't afford an increase in the taxes. Still others may just be stingy and not want taxes to take any more of their money away.

    Either way, it's a mess.

     
  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    A run-down of the situation would help. Any links?

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    jer-

    i doubt there are any links, but here's the timeline (as i remember):

    greenville builds elementary, middle and high schools (about 347 years ago)
    school board purchases land for new school buildings
    city rezones property to allow for school building
    some form a petition to try to block the rezoning and bring it to vote in november
    petition denied because the process wasn't followed accurately
    protesters gather a second petition
    school board files to stop the petition in court on the grounds that citizens do not vote on zoning issues and because not rezoning could greatly destroy the value of the property
    block is denied and petition has been filed

    i assume we're voting in november. something tells me that no matter how the vote turns out, we won't be done.

     
  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger David said…

    I never know what to think about local voting issues like this. Out here in Palestine all the buzz is about the new mega-dairy that's supposedly coming to our part of Darke county in the next few years. We periodically get fliers in the mail inviting us to town council meetings for concerned citizens. Everyone is trying to figure out how to block the milking monstrosity from going up anywhere near us. The fliers have little clip-art dairy cows with X's through them.

    I'm kind of torn on this. I understand the concerns (smell, noise, ugliness, smell, potential pollution of ground water, smell, etc.), but seriously - where does everybody think the milk they buy at the store comes from? Blocking the contruction here just means it goes up somewhere else, but apparently the attitude is "That's fine as long as it's not in MY backyard, or the backyard of anyone I know".

    Now, I'm a renter, so my opinion hardly matters, but this whole thing seems somewhat selfish and illogical. The main complaint seems to be toxic run-off, but the people who make this complaint are probably going out and spraying pesticide and herbicide all over their fields. What to do?

     

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