Monday, May 15, 2006

No Torah On a Park Bench?

This story is troubling, simply because it may have a terrible impact on religious activity.
Owners of an apartment complex in upstate South Carolina have told a group of seniors that they can no longer hold weekly Bible study meetings in the common areas of the complex because it might violate the Fair Housing Act, reports the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

Raleigh, N.C.-based One Management Inc., the owners of the complex on South Church Street in Spartanburg, said no hymns may be played and the nativity scene the group puts up at Christmas will not be allowed from now on.

The owners say the apartment complex must be "religion neutral" to avoid the appearance of discrimination based on faith. They said the Bible studies and nativity scene might make tenets feel that one religion is preferred over another.
The nativity scenes are debateable, but somewhat understandable. By allowing one religious group to put up something like that, it signals that that religion is somehow more important. If all groups could do such a thing, or the public displays were small/not overt, I would have less of a problem with it.

But Bible study? What's wrong with that? Would Jewish people not be allowed to sit outside their apartment complex and learn Gemara (Talmud)? Some Chumash (Bible)? What if someone simply wanted to tell over something he had learned that day to his wife - would they have to wait until they were inside their own apartment to discuss it? This seems to be political correctness run amok - I sincerely hope this gets reversed.

Am I looking at this the wrong way?