Dancing banned in church … by the government!

As a baptist I find this VERY amusing.

“A SMALL western Sydney church has been hit with a $3000 fine by the local council because its choir was singing too loudly and some choristers were caught dancing”

“Council officers raided the Granville church and were alarmed to discover choir members dancing in the carpark and the door of the church open an hour after it was supposed to be closed.”

I guess Parramatta Council were worried the dancing could lead to sex. Everyone crooning “Oh, God. Oh, God!” For the full story read Church’s joy and dancing banned.

9 thoughts on “Dancing banned in church … by the government!

  1. Andrew Park says:

    Glad you mentioned this article Matt. Had a copy of it in my bag on Sunday and forgot to show you like I intended to.

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  2. Andrew Park says:

    I agree Steve. Having worked with church-based welfare agencies in Paramatta, have observed that council can be fairly tokenistic in its toleration of religious stuff and fairly politically-correct and precious in its application of by-laws.
    The particular cultural community this is about needs positive role images. Lots of troubled youth living in and around Granville in the Tongan community, mainly because they’ve been dislodged for a variety of reasons from their indigenous culture. I am surprised at how the council has over-reacted to what appears to be a fairly good community activity, albeit occurring a bit after their 10pm curfew for such. It was just a one-off occurrence – a practice for a Xmas event.

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  3. Luke T says:

    I think the council has gone to far, but I am also concerned by the rhetoric in the article.
    “Council officers raided the Granville church and were alarmed to discover”
    Raided… alarmed… discover… those are pretty sensationalist words, especially when compared to the spokesmans words later in article – and the daily telegraph appears to favour sensationlism over journalism (I have heard more tame reports of this story in other media channels recently).
    Also, the church was supposedly “open” more than an hour later than it’s “hours of operation”. If a restaurant, sporting venue, hotel, etc were open they could face penalty for the impact on surrounding community. I’m not suggesting that a church is the same as a pub but is there a need to be sensitive to the surrounding community in a residential area?
    I recall that a year or two back there was a development application for a church of a subcontinental religion (forgive me but I cant recall which), but the application was getting objections from local residents as they were concerned the church would be cooking high amounts of food with strong odours from curries and that could impact on nearby houses.
    So for me the question is where is the line between what a society will accept versus what is unacceptable in what the church does?
    Finally, specifically on parramatta council, I re-read
    http://mattstone.blogs.com/christian/2010/03/easter-in-parramatta.html
    and
    http://mattstone.blogs.com/christian/2009/12/parramatta-council-dumps-seasons-greetings-signs-.html
    I am not a resident of the parramatta area so cant speak firsthand but this reads as a council that is finally rejecting the political over-correctness.
    So do I think the council officer has been a bit over the top – yes, and someone in council could have taken action to discuss the matter with church before it escalated.
    But do I think this is another media beat up by the daily telegraph – yes; I would prefer to get more info before assuming this is a once off or anything else, otherwise I am left wondering why the council officer was even out there for a site inspection at 10pm on a thursday night.

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  4. Matt Stone says:

    I agree the Daily Telegraph were being sensationalistic. I am however aware of a ‘diversity of opionion’ within Parramatta Council over the handling of religious matters so I don’t think its a complete beat up despite some positive moves in recent months (those moves were in fact hotly contested). As for the actions of the church, we’ll I’m undecided there and would have to know more. How loud was it exactly? Yes, Charismatics can get carreid away sometimes, but this was Christmas carols of all things. If it had been Hillsongs, well, that’s offensive any hour of the day or night 🙂 but Christmas carols in December is an Australian tradition. So too, is drinking beer and playing music loudly for Christmas parties. My neighbours partook in that and I didn’t see any officers rocking up. I can see how this could be argued different ways by different interest groups so I’ll just be watching with interest.

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  5. Andrew Park says:

    Lucy went to a dance thing on Sunday. It ran several hours overtime. Didn’t get fined by the local council though.

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  6. Jarred says:

    So is this idea of churches having set “hours of operation” they’re limited to typical over there? I admit that the whole idea strikes me as a bit bizarre.

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  7. Andrew Park says:

    I was just being a bit saracstic Jarred.
    We actually do enjoy plenty of religious freedom and tolerance in Australia.
    I suspect that Parramatta City Council was reacting to neighbour’s noise complaints.
    They just didn’t outline what led up to their fining of the Tongan Church on this particular occasion.
    David Borger, the MP who has sought to get the fine waived is the former Mayor of Parramatta. He has been supportive of churches in the area over the years.
    It just seems a bit ironic that Parramatta has had a few incidents involving racist violence (against the Indian community) over the past year and gang violence involving Islander youth (e.g. Fijian, Tongan and Arabic youth involved in serious matters that have hit the news media mainstream). My own personal view is that sub-cultural youth being involved in positive stuff such as one-off or shortterm rehearsing for Christmas carols should surely have been treated with some latitude by a concerned council.

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  8. Matt Stone says:

    I’d be surprised if the fines aren’t waived eventually. Could you imagine the outcry if something like this had happened in America though! Prompts some questioning on what we mean by religious tollerance. I’d say Australia is much more tollerant of Paganism and Atheism than America, but much less tollerant of Christianity and quasi-Christian sects. Tall poppy syndrome masquerading as political correctness?

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