Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Could It Be that the City of Easton is Finally Calling Out Rock Church on Code Violations?

The historic (and blighted) Hooper House on 5th Street in Easton

Posted by: Noël Jones

In this Express-Times article by Ed Sieger, it appears that the City of Easton may finally be drawing a line in the sand with regard to the historic Hooper House, which has been owned by Rock Church since
1979, and has been blighted ever since. This is one of Easton's oldest buildings and sits on our most prominent street in town, at the corner of 5th and Northampton Streets.

Considering churches make their bread and butter by pushing shame, it's interesting that Rock Church hasn't seemed to summon any shame for itself with regard to allowing an historic landmark to go blighted for so long. The City of Easton, however, appears not to be completely shameless, just an extremely late bloomer in the shame department.

With as much public outcry as there has been over blight and a lack of code enforcement on slumlords, why has the City of Easton allowed this building, this landmark, this eyesore on our most prominent street go unrestored for over three decades? How many mayors have there been in this town during that time? What pull does this church have with our local government that they have never been forced to either restore the building or sell it to someone who will?

As I am still a "newcomer" with less than five years under my belt here, I welcome comments, especially from any old-timers who can help make sense of this...


Anonymous said...

drawing the line in the sand is probably a better discription. The city has gone after these properties many times and the same thing happens,,,,,,they do a little, very little work and say they started.

Stricter state rules regarding vacant and abandoned properties are needed in this state. They have owned the Hooper House since 1979 and have done nothing with it.

Mayor, can you say Armory? I know they too have been cited but there is another example of an owner who has done nothing in more than 20 years.

noel jones said...

I understand that it took six years of pursuit by the city to finally get rid of the hub cap store, and the city blamed the slow state process and local judges like Ed Smith (who is up for re-election/retention on the ballot this fall) for letting the violators slide repeatedly, but what can possibly be the excuse for over THREE DECADES?

noel jones said...

anyway, I'm very glad that they're going after them now--i just hope that it's serious.

Donna R. said...

Sorry to see you state and believe that "Considering churches make their bread and butter by pushing shame..."

Anonymous said...

Donna, she's just pandering to her liberal base. you'll have to ignore Noel's particular slant on things, it can be a bit volatile at times.
anyway, I have read things over the years about this building. IIRC, there was some issue w/ some improvements the church wanted to make that didn't fit w/ the historical commission, but I don't have any details beyond that.
it's not the only ignored building in the city, but perhaps because it IS owned by a church is why it irritates you Noel?

tachitup said...

Donna & anon 10:40 - Yeah, the shame thing just shows her misunderstanding of religion in the real world. It's interesting, tho.
Noël is a staunch fiscal conservative and a tree-hugger. And totaly unabashed. Strange combination but that's kinda where I am too, only not sooo huggy.

tachitup said...

And our current mayor was in on the early years of this issue.

noel jones said...

Donna R, thanks for posting--you are, of course, catching me in a gross generalization/characterization. My brother, who is a Mormon, would be very annoyed with me. Not all churches push shame to the degree that most do, but it's a reality--most do.

The very basis of most religions and their raison d'etre is to make people feel shame for their sins, while telling them that no one is without sin and that it is beyond their power never to sin, and that the best they can hope for is to try really hard to sin as little as possible, feel shame for it, ask forgiveness, and be granted immortality. To be able to do this, they are encouraged to be members of churches, where they are then pressured in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, to donate to support the church financially.

Now, there are some churches in town, like Legacy Ministries in the West Ward, who focus mainly on ministering to the poor, addicted and afflicted, where there is much less emphasis on shame and donations, and much more emphasis on love of fellow man, but in Christian churches, there is just no getting around that fact that shame is a major factor.

Logically it makes more sense for Christians to agree with me on this and just say, "that's right, and we SHOULD feel ashamed, because we ARE sinners and we should support our churches," rather than to disagree that churches push shame, no?

I guess, "push" is a strong word. How about "encourage shame?"

I want to make it clear, that I feel that churches in our communities make tremendous social contributions in terms of helping those in need, and are often put their money to much more direct use than nonprofit social services running on tax money. They also provide a social network where young people can avoid trouble, and that is a very valuable thing to any troubled community. So I am thankful for the good work that our local churches do. But that does not change the basic reality that churches (Christian churches at least) are based on the concept of shame for and redemption from sins.

My point here, is that it drives me nuts when churches who are more than willing to tell the community how much they are sinning, can feel no shame at all about committing the sin of not fixing up an historic building on the main street of a struggling town for over THREEE DECADES.

But then again, I guess it doesn't count to them, because it's not in the Ten Commandments, so they feel no shame, maybe?

noel jones said...

tachitup--you have summed me up fairly accurately here--touche!