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Would council have pulled for another religion?

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POSTED February 7, 2013 6:39 p.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The recent front page piece (“Manteca blesses religious ads”) on Feb. 6 reported the City Council rejected a staff recommendation to prohibit religious and political advertising on the city's 14 bus shelters.  The move seemed to have more than one or two outspoken supporters. Mayor Willie Weatherford stating "It's about time somebody took a stand", Councilman Vince Hernandez suggested we (Manteca?) are a little less liberal than San Francisco, Councilman John Harris pointed to the words above the U.S Supreme Court dais, which reads "In God we trust".

Pastor Mike Dillman asked "When will this madness stop?" apparently referring to his perception of the Federal Government's drive to "sanitize" public forums of all things "religious" further claiming "In 1964 God was expelled from our schools, all because one person out of millions objected to prayer in schools".

Well, it was a little more complicated than that and those claims are a little more debatable than projected by the good pastor. You can Google it yourself.

What gave me pause on the whole thing was every one of those supporting the recommendation equated

"Religion" to the "Christian religion". I wonder if someone else would have been pulling for a different "religion", say Islam, jainism, sikhism or even atheism (the rejection of belief in the existence of deities). I would venture to say, the debate would have taken a much different turn.

Personally I could care less how churches want to spend their tax free monies but if I were in charge of "Religious Advertizing" I wouldn't want to spend it on a bus stop poster. I would spend it on TV advertizing. The TV industry will take anyone’s advertising monies, tax free or not, no questions asked plus they reach a much larger audience.

Furthermore, if I were deciding who is advertising would most benefit the city revenues. I would look to promote local small businesses. The church, regardless of its affiliation is looking for more members, thus more revenue, tax free revenue. How does this add to the city revenue? On the other hand, local small business is looking for more spending customers which of course, generates more city tax revenue.

As Michael Corleone, from the Godfather said to his brother, Sonny: " It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business."

Larry Baca


Feb. 7, 2013

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