To The Daily Sun,
I've been reading the letters from Bishop Blake over the past several months, mainly in regards to The Holy Grail Restaurant, but also recently in regards to Laconia's new police chief, Matt Canfield.
I've kept my thoughts and opinions about the Bishop's letters to myself, but several people didn't, and responded to his letters accordingly. I was going to continue to keep quiet, but after reading Mr. John Demakowski's letter in today's paper, I finally had to respond.
Mr. Demakowski stated that he felt that the letters in response to Bishop Blake's were vicious and the writers were attacking him. My opinion is just the opposite. The people who wrote those letters were expressing their opinions, just like the Bishop did. Just because they happened to disagree with Bishop Blake does not mean they were attacking him or that they were vicious.
Bishop Blake brought this all on himself. He is the one who has been attacking the owners of The Holy Grail because they happened to have left the cross on top of the building that housed their restaurant. Some of the things he wrote (in letters which were printed in a public forum, for anyone and everyone to see) were not nice, to say the least. We all know what he said, so I'm not going to rehash it. Suffice it to say that the owners of the restaurant showed great restraint and as far as I know, never once responded to Blake's letters. Instead, the one letter I did see from them was an apology letter to the general public, in which they stated that they got off on the wrong foot and asked that we all give them another chance.
Bishop Blake has been hounding these people in the editorial page of this paper for quite awhile. And he did it, all the while claiming that he was receiving his direction from God. God was talking to him and telling him that the restaurant was going to fail if Blake didn't get them to see the light and take the cross down off the roof of the building. I'm sorry, but the God I know and love WOULD NOT take the time to whisper in anyone's ear to tell him to hound and harass a local business owner.
That building did, at one time, house a church. However, that building itself is NOT a church. A church is the congregation of people who gather to worship God. The building has nothing to do with it. They can gather in their Pastor's basement if they want to. They can gather in a member's living room. They can gather in a tent set up in a farmer's field. They can gather in an empty storefront. Or, they can build a building and gather and worship in that. But at the end of the day, when the congregation decides to disband or to move on to another place of worship, their former place of worship is just that – a former place of worship. Just an empty building.
The congregation who owned the building that housed The Holy Grail no longer wanted or needed that building. They are the ones who decided to sell it. They didn't sell to another congregation looking for a new home for their church, which they could have done. They could have decided to sell only to another church, but they chose not to. They sold it to David and Maureen Kennedy to use as they see fit. And it was their decision to remodel the building and put a restaurant and bar in it. THEIR decision as they now OWNED that building. The city of Laconia was OK with their decision as well, because they gave the Kennedys the green light and all the necessary permits.
Bishop Blake was obviously very upset at the thought of a restaurant and a bar in that building, but he has to remember that it is no longer a church or place of worship. The fact that the cross was left on the roof has nothing to do with anything. The cross does not solely belong to a church! The cross belongs to anyone and everyone. My husband wears a cross on a chain around his neck every day. Am I supposed to yank it off of him and tell him that since he's not a priest that he can't wear it anymore?! What about the millions of people who have a cross hanging on one of their walls in their homes? Do they have to take them down because their home is not a church? How about people who have crosses tattooed on their bodies? Do they need to ink over the cross or suffer the wrath of the bishop? I had a cross on the top of my wedding cake 39 years ago. Am I going to hell because I didn't have little bride and groom dolls instead?
The Kennedys really took the high road when it came to Bishop Blake. He should consider himself lucky. And he should REALLY stop crowing about them going out of business. He claims to be a bishop and a Christian and a follower of God, yet he finds joy in the fact that two fellow children of God lost their business. That, right there, is horrible. No God-loving Christian would do something like that and then brag about it in the local newspaper.
You want to talk about vicious, Mr. Demakowski? There ya go.