I'm very distressed this week. Fear has won the day again. There is a house for sale diagonally across the street from the rectory. About a week or toe ago there was a knock on our door from a neighbor canvassing the neighborhood for signatures against a group home for mentally disabled young people being put into the house.
Now I have been sick with severe sinusitis and tired as anything. This past Thursday was the meeting for the variance at City Hall chambers. The opposition I'm told was overwhelming. The man withdrew his request to open the home.
In our baptismal vows we have this question, "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" This means everyone. I have some questions about this vote in the neighborhood. For an area that identifies heavily as predominately Christian is it right for you to vote against something based totally on irrational fear? In an area where I see signs everyday that abortion is illegal and immoral how do you propose to take care of mentally challenged babies who grow into young people, by making them homeless? Did Jesus avoid the lepers, the dead, or women because they made him unclean or did he heal, talk with, and even eat with them?
I am disappointed in my neighbors who claim to be Christian. As I have looked up statistics on group homes in general on the web I have run into articles that state most NIMBY (not in my back yard) groups run off from fear and it is best fought with fact. Also there was a Princeton University study by Dr. Julian Wolpert that studied the myth of property values declining, which was found to be no different. As a matter of fact problems people brought up about more traffic and worse appearance were all false. Most group homes look better taken care of than the surrounding properties.
I am disappointed by fear. I am disappointed to be called a Christian neighbor. I hope we will all ask harder questions in the future and run on fact and not fear.