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Special Privelages

LiquorThere's an abandoned convenience store near the entrance to the development I live in. Just recently, we found out that someone's planning to buy it and make it an active store again. But, we also have a church nearby, and somebody asked if there was a problem with a store selling alcohol (beer & wine) being so close to a church. Somebody else in the neighborhood pointed out the city ordinance, 5430.A, which deals with that. I guess I'm sheltered, because I'd never heard of this before. Anyway, here's what the ordinance says:

The sale of alcoholic beverages within the city by any dealer whose place of business is within 300 feet of a church or public hospital, the measurements to be along the property lines of the street fronts and from front door to front door, and in a direct line across intersections, is hereby prohibited. This section shall not apply to temporary sales authorized under section 5420, subsection 5.

Just below that, there was some wording that caught my eye, "5500. - Sexually oriented commercial establishment." It had a similar ordinance at 5510:

A person commits an offense if he operates or causes to be operated within 1,000 feet of a church, a public or private elementary or secondary school, a United States military installation which contains a training school for armed forces members, a residential dwelling unit in which one or more persons maintain a residence, a public park, or another business of a type hereinafter enumerated in this section, a business of one of the following types:

A. An adult bookstore as hereinafter defined.
B. An adult motion picture theater as hereinafter defined.
C. A business or enterprise which offers for a consideration nude human modeling.
D. A business or enterprise that offers for a consideration physical contact between persons when one or more of such persons are nude or semi-nude.
E. A bar, nightclub or other similar commercial establishment that offers as entertainment, for the purpose of providing sexual stimulation to the customers of such establishment, live performances by a person or persons who expose specified anatomical areas or who perform specified sexual activities.
F. An adult arcade as hereinafter defined.
G. An adult motel as hereinafter defined.
H. An adult theater as hereinafter defined.
I. An escort agency as hereinafter defined.

Why did churches get thrown in there? Schools and hospitals are public buildings providing a valualbe service, and I can sort of see why people wouldn't want liquor stores, porn shops, or strip bars nearby (though I don't necessarily agree with the alcohol sale restriction). But churches? They're private organizations. Why should they get any special consideration? What makes them different from the Elks Lodge, the Women's Forum, the Kemp Center for the Arts (which happens to be across the street from a bar), the Boys and Girls Club, or the Y?

It's just one more example of the undeserved special treatment that religion gets in this country.

(It's also kind of funny that you can't have an adult bookstore within 1000 feet of the base. You have to be 18 to join the military, so they're all adults.)

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