Tuesday, July 03, 2007

City Officials Misinterpret Smoking Ban

Father Tom Shoemaker of St Jude Church was told by the Fort Wayne Fire Department that smoking was prohibited on the portion of church property that laid within 200 feet of Parkview Hospital. (See the Pastor's column on page 2 of this PDF file.)

But Section 95.65 of the ordinance says:
"Smoking shall be prohibited from the grounds of a healthcare facility that has prohibited smoking on its grounds for a distance of the closer of either 200 feet from any point of ingress or egress or the nearest private property boundary."

That means that churches, temples, and mosques are free to set to set whatever smoking policies they wish, even under the new ordinance. Some pastors have wondered if they would be allowed to burn incense. But places of worship are private places in the sense that they enjoy a greater ability to exclude people than stores or restaurants. So they can burn anything they like within their buildings, be it incense, candles, or copies of Origin of Species. A cult leader can even opt to pass out Kools instead of Kool-Aid.

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