As an atheist I have the good fortune not to spend any of my days supplicating myself to the deity, well maybe you could argue that there is a spiritual aspect to my Yoga classes but I reckon that it would have to be a line ball call on that because its the health of my body I do yoga for rather than for the well being of my soul. None the less there are a lot of people out there who spend a big slice of their lives participating in the rituals of their God bothering brand of choice. and for some of them they want a place for the like minded to gather and pray. Now this has largely been well received by the public and local government But there are times when the construction of a place of worship worries the people who live adjacent to the proposed building.
The controversial regulations have been proposed by Canterbury Council – which includes the Islamic community strongholds of Belmore, Campsie, Canterbury and Lakemba.
The move is being backed by the Labor mayor Robert Furolo, who is also the state MP for the seat of Lakemba, and residents opposed to a mosque on the site of an ex-Roselands church.
The new planning controls would require all religious bodies to adhere to strict planning guidelines in residential areas.
Planning laws in most NSW local government areas do not require religious organisations to make a new application to council if they buy a site zoned as a place of worship for use by another faith.
But Canterbury’s planning order would require a new approval for each purchase and restrict service times. Muslims pray five times a day.
I have never “got” the reason that various faiths demand that their adherents perform prayers or rituals but in a diverse world its live and let live in my book. However if religious observance is going to impact upon the lives of those who happen to live near the proposed church or mosque then those residents have a right to object to the development just as much as they have the right to object to any other development in their locality. So I am endorsing the requirement that the construction of any new place of worship has to go through the same sort of planning process as any other development.