Tuesday, January 12, 2010
ASK ANY RELIGIOUS LEADER AND THEY TELL YOU THE MONEY'S NOT IN THE PLATE BUT IN THE WALLET
A few years ago a friend and I were driving out in the country and found a nice little town to check out. We were just killing some time, checking out the towns history, some of the shops and it’s history. It was settled back in the 1800’s by mostly German immigrants.
Of course there were the ever present churches. This is the Bible Belt. My friend is ¾ American Indian and while raised a Catholic follows her American Indian ancestors faith. But she still every so often has a soft spot for the Church.
So there was this pretty little Catholic Church. It’s neat, clean, well tended too. The lawns are well manicured. She wanted to going in, check it out and maybe light a candle. Maybe remember some of her childhood memories. This was fine by me. She knew I was an atheist and was fine with that.
I looked around and saw no cars in the parking lot. In fact, I didn’t see anyone around. I said, “It looks like it’s closed.” She then informed me that the Catholic Church never locks it doors. It’s always open. No one is ever turned away.
So we walk up to the front doors. She reaches out to open the door and low and behold, the doors are locked. I could tell she was rather taken aback by that fact, but taking it in stride tells me, “I guess times have changed…”
Now some of you are saying, “What has this to do with being an atheist or free thinker?” I think that it’s a reflection of today’s religion. Not only Christianity, but all religions, it’s various Political Action Committees (PACs) they finance, and it’s leaders.
These people are scared. If you think an abortion clinic is well protected, go look at some of these Pro Life groups facilities.
I subscribe to a variety of things on the net. Some are political in nature, others are business related, art related, or quirky in nature. Some deal with security. One of the sites I subscribe too is Security Director News ( http://www.securitydirectornews.com).
This issue had an article dealing with crime directed against churches. Interestingly enough, there is, and I know you all will find this so hard to believe, crimes directed against places of worship in every state of the US. Oddly, it does not get that much press. A lot of things religions, religious leaders, and it’s followers do, against the local, state and federal laws gets reported in the news.
I don’t know if it’s not politically correct to report this.
I don’t know weather the editors or news directors think it’s not news worthy.
And I don’t know weather the publication, reporting or publicity of crimes directed against places of worship, religions, religious leaders or their followers, or by these groups is not, due to the nature of the crimes is suppressed.
What do these organizations and their followers have to be fearful of? I think it’s something that we all need to take a look at and be aware of.
But here is the article in full. I’ve included the page on the internet as well.
SECURITY DIRECTOR NEWS
Churches urged to 'look within' to enhance security
By Leischen Stelter - 01-12-2010
CINCINNATI, Ohio—A study released in January found that there were more than 1,200 crimes against churches across the country in 2009, ranging in severity from vandalism to violent crimes. This is the first year this study has been conducted.
The report, Crimes Against Christian Organizations in the United States, found that burglaries were the most common crime, with 779 incidents making up 63 percent of all crimes reported against churches, followed by 149 thefts (12 percent) and 98 cases of arson (8 percent).
While burglary was by far the most commonly reported incident, it was not the most expensive crime against churches. Instead, internal theft, which made up only 4 percent of all incidents, cost churches nearly twice as much as burglaries at an estimated $13.5 million compared to $7.8 million from burglaries.
Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network, which conducted the study, said he wasn’t surprised by the results, but that church leadership tends to express shock when incidents occur at their places of worship, particularly internal theft.
“When you’re following this all year long and see it repeated over and over again, although the incidents are different, you see the same patterns and realize that it’s not an anomaly, it’s more of a trend,” he said. “So when talking about where to stop the biggest dollar risk, churches have to look to within.”
While it’s hard to generalize what churches need in terms of security, Hawkins said one overarching policy that all churches should implement is performing background checks on all staff and volunteers. “Churches are suffering internal loss because they don’t have internal controls,” he said.
The first hurdle to getting church leadership to address these security needs is to “get over this it-can’t-happen-here mentality,” Hawkins said. “They have to take responsibility and be proactive to prevent and deter crime and they can’t sit back and do nothing.” A common issue with churches in particular is that they have a misconception about what security really means. “They want to be open and inviting and they think security will make it look like a prison,” he said.
As far as implementing specific security measures, Hawkins said every church is different and there’s no single solution, but all churches should establish a safety team ministry, a group of individuals who are dedicated to safety and emergency planning for the church. And, he said, before churches start worrying about purchasing security equipment such as video surveillance and alarm systems, he said they need to have these teams in place to first evaluate their specific risks.
And while this study brings to light the security issues churches across the country are facing, future reports will be able to determine if 2009 was an above average year for crimes against churches. “As we get more information and data, the biggest thing is trending,” said Hawkins. “Was this a typical year or a particularly bad year because of the economy? This report really brought up more questions than answers at this point.”
So what is your opinion on this?