Dangers of voting against God

A quick glance at the Google Map for Longmont shows in the neighborhood of sixty churches.

Checking Wikipedia for Colorado I found these stats:

Religion

Christianity is the most popular religion in Colorado, adhered to by 65% of the state population. Protestantism is the most popular branch of Christianity with 44% of the state population, while Roman Catholicism is the largest single denomination, with 19% of the population.

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:

  • Christian — 65%
    • Protestant — 44%
      • Evangelical — 23%
      • Mainline — 19%
      • Other Protestant — 2%
    • Roman Catholic — 19%
    • Orthodox — 1%
    • Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
  • Jewish — 2%
  • Muslim — 1%
  • Other Religions — 5%
  • Unaffiliated — 25%

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007); and Baptist with 85,083.

At 25%, Colorado also has an above average proportion of citizens who claim no religion. The U.S. average is 17%.

So when I saw this comment:

Glad to see we have people on the planning commission who use common sense. Years ago a church wanted to build on the east side and the people in Fox Hill fought it because the steeple would block their view. (deleted -frl)

Vigilant Patriot, Longmont, CO, 12/16/2010 10:40 AM

on a Longmont Times-Call article titled “Church gets planners’ blessing” I felt it important to remind folks of some of Longmont’s turbulent religious history and explain a bit more why the Fox Hill residents opposed this church – there’s more to it than just the steeple.

This article first appeared on Stop Union Annex, Oct 14, 2007


Reproduced from the Daily Times Call Tuesday January 22, 1985 – red/bold highlighting has been added. -ed

Political stakes high in temple vote

By JOHN FRYAR
Times-Call Staff Writer

The fight over Bethel Temple’s proposal for a new church probably will not end tonight when the City Council decides whether or not to grant an exception to building height restrictions.

Council members may be defending their votes in weeks to come in this municipal election year.

“If I had a city councilman that voted against God and voted against God’s church, I could never vote for him again,” Bethel Temple’s Pastor James Miller told persons attending a 10:45 a.m. service Sunday. “I could never vote for him. You, you could do what you want to, but I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t vote for any man that’s anti-God.”

If Bethel Temple’s building height variance is denied, no more churches more than 30 feet tall will be built in Longmont, “unless we elect city councils that are not inclined to have such narrow views,” Miller is heard saying in a Bethel Temple recording of his Sunday sermon.

“Your’re not voting against Jim Miller. You’re telling the Almighty God you don’t like His church, and I wouldn’t do it. People that do that sometimes grow daisies above their body because God gets tired of it.”

In an earlier 8 a.m. service Sunday -also taped- Miller said, “Now, I don’t think… that we need to sit and allow ungodly people to rule on councils. If we have people that are anti-church, I think – I’m going to say this now before a vote – I think that if a man or a woman voted against a church, I think they ought to be voted out of office.”

“They should never be allowed to hold an office, never be allowed to rule in city government. We need godly men and women who rule in government,” Miller said.

Church supporters are not the only ones trying to put tonight’s council decision into a political context, council members report.

For example, one man living on Crawford Circle wrote Councilwoman Diane Strachan earlier this month: “At times I perceive your position on this matter as: I’ll do what I need to do to get re-elected. If in fact that is your position, I can assure you I will work for your defeat in the next election with all possible vigor.”

A woman living on Winslow Circle wrote Strachan, “It seems to me this whole thing has turned into a political issue – i.e., as to who will vote for you in the next election. If in fact you decide this issue in this way, then it is my intention to insure that you do not get re-elected, or any candidates you endorse. I hope to be working for your interests in the next election.”

The seats of Mayor Bill Swenson and Councilmen Larry Burkhardt, John Caldwell and Tom McCoy are up for election this year. The terms of Strachan and Councilmen Basil Irwin and Dan Benavidez do not expire until 1987.

Buildings in single-family residential zones – such as the site of the proposed church northwest of Pace Street and East Fifth Avenue – can be no taller than 30 feet high, unless the City Council grants an exception. Bethel Temple proposes to build a church building with a 51-foot-high sanctuary roof line and a 60-foot-high roof cap, bell tower ana spire extending above that.

Miller said Sunday that opponents to the church’s plans are “stupid” and said Bethel Temple’s lawyers cannot find another instance of a church ever being rejected by a city council anywhere in the country because of its height.

He said Bethel Temple is being persecuted and said, “There’s lots of people that are for us in this city. We’ve got a lot of enemies because there’s a lot of devils running around today The world’s got devils everywhere. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. And if this kind of stupidity goes on in this city forever, there won’t be any churches built, because humanists and godless, wicked people will keep churches from going up,” Miller told his congregation.

But he promised that the church eventually will be built, even if it has to go on another site: “So mark it down, Longmont, get ready for a big Bethel Temple. We’re coming.”

Council members have said the issue they must face is height -not the nature of Bethel Temple or the square footage of the church building. But Miller on Sunday put the issue in broader terms. He characterized a vote against the church plans as a vote against God.

“And I want to tell you, it is dangerous to vote against God Almighty,” Miller said at the 10:45 a.m. service. “You’re not voting against Jim Miller. You’re telling the Almighty God you don’t like His church, and I wouldn’t do it. People that do that sometimes grow daisies above their body because God gets tired of it.”

But Miller urged his congregation not to get discouraged and not to hate their enemies. He said to “love the lost. Don’t, don’t be angry. Don’t, don’t, don’t hate the people that are against us. Pray for them and if you meet them, love them.”

Issue discussed at services
Bethel Temple Pastor James Miller Monday declined to comment on his church’s request for a variance, or to respond to the latest city planning staff analysis of the theatre request.

In a brief prepared statement, Miller said, All have to say is that the staff conclusions are being reviewed by our planner and our architect and after they have studied them, they will make their presentation accordingly at the hearing Tuesday night.

“I haven’t had time enough to study everything of it (the city staff analysis) enough to draw any conclusions yet,” he said Monday.

Last Friday, Miller said he could not talk about the issue without consulting with his attorney. And he told members of his congregation Sunday that the brief statement he had prepared for Monday would be “all I’m allowed to say… I cannot answer opponents now.”

At the request of the Daily Times-Call, Miller and the church did provide tape recordings of Miller’s discussions of the height issue at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. services Sunday.

Miller emphasized, however, that those taped discussions should be taken in the context of someone talking to his “family” about the issue and not as a presentation intended for the general public.

In the 8 a.m. service itself, Miller said to members of the congregation: “Well, I can say (these, things about the issue) to you We’re home. We’re in our own family. This is our own house this morning. We’re not saying this to the city, we’re saying this to our family.”

Representatives of the Committee Of Concerned Citizens – the group opposing the height exception did consent to an interview earlier this month, at which they restated many of the complaints they have had about the Bethel Temple proposal for the past year.

Those include such things as: The bulk of the building; the size of the church as compared with other Longmont churches; questions about whether parking and landscaping plans will satisfy city requirements; concerns about what Bethel Temple plans to do with the bulk of the 38 acres it owns northwest of Pace Street and East Fifth Avenue if the church is built on a 16-acre portion of that site; the noise, traffic congestion and visual impact the church and its congregation would have on the neighborhood: and what the benefit to the city would be of allowing the structure.

The council’s consideration of the height exception comes during a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. today in the Civic Center Complex council chambers, Third Avenue and Emery Street.

The Bethany Temple height exception was voted down. Pastor Miller, a relatively-young man, died a few months later. -frl


Just one example of the blatant politicking in our local religious community.

But here’s another that’s clearly the motivation behind that snarky comment above:

From Stop Union Annex, Dec 6, 2007

Muskrats Behind the Pulpit

If you have any doubts about which side of the fence good ole Rev Fred’s on…. read on.

From the Times-Call archive (sorry, no link!)(golly!)

Paper: Daily Times-Call, The (Longmont, CO)
Title: Cheers and jeers
Story by Ben Ready • The Daily Times-Call
Date: November 30, 2005
Political heavyweights, protesters greet president in Denver

President Bush covered a lot of ground Tuesday in a 19-minute speech during a fundraising event at the Brown Palace Hotel that added $450,000 to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s re-election campaign.

Though he didn’t stay for the $1,000- a-plate lunch, Bush kicked off the event by stressing his and Musgrave’s shared stances on such issues as the war in Iraq, tax cuts, immigration enforcement, abortion, gay marriage and family values.

(*SNIP*)

Ben Ready can be reached at (deleted -frl), or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.
(not anymore, Ben’s moved on)(golly!)

The Rev. Rick Rusaw’s prayer

Excerpts from the prayer The Rev. Rick Rusaw of LifeBridge Church in Longmont gave at President Bush’s luncheon fundraiser for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave:

“Father … thank you for Congresswoman Musgrave, for her character, her faith. … Father, thank you for President Bush and for his strong resolve and his character that’s been shaped by his faith.


And people scoff when I suggest that the Union Annex might have something to do with politics.


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