Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is Highly Political Baptist Church Highly Favored?

Old Highland Park Church Building

Today we bring you two or three tidbits about the City of Muscle Shoals and its ongoing affiliation with Highland Park Baptist Church. Some months ago, when the Highland Park congregation moved to its new home, a reader sent us photos of the Muscle Shoals Fire Department hosing the mud off the recently completed parking lot. We chose not to address it since we felt fairly sure the city would claim that it was a fire-fighting exercise.

However, this week we've been asked about a zoning hearing that is about to take place. The Muscle Shoals City Council is voting on changing the planning designation of the former building from R-3 to B-2. Obviously, much business has sprung up around the building since its construction and rezoning may be indicated. It would certainly make the site easier to market...and bring in much more revenue.

The problem pointed out to us by a reader is that of the five council members who will be voting, all but one are members of the Highland Park congregation--hence, its often being referred to as the "Highly Political Baptist Church." How can the church members abstain? Joe Pampinto does not in himself constitute a quorum.


A second message from a reader has asked us:

Have you ever tried to go north on Wilson Dam Road on Sunday morning when the MSC Police are stopping traffic to let the councilmen and their families, Praise and Worship performers, and fellow bench warmers are leaving church? Do they provide police traffic control for all the other churches?

That's certainly an interesting question. Perhaps the church pays for off-duty officers? We know that Woodmont Baptist in Florence uses members to direct traffic, and the practice has been criticized as being unofficial and possibly the grounds for a lawsuit if anyone is injured due to this practice.

Could Woodmont build an overhead walkway ala Park Place? We have no idea of the legalities involved.

In other words, welcome to the clash of small town politics and big town traffic.


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