South Carolina Pastor gets jail time for being too loud in church

Neighbours had complained repeatedly about Johnnie Clark and his “turn it up to 11” approach to his church’s sound system, often running it at crazy volumes for evening services. The police had to go there dozens of times and the church has been fined several times. In June a judge granted them an injunction prohibiting loud services between 8pm and 8am which they refused to follow and now they’re reportedly shocked that a jury sentenced him to a couple weeks of jail time plus more fines. From WLTX:

“I can’t believe it, jail time, for serving God, what’s next,” said Pastor and First Lady Harriet Clark.

No no, honey. It’s not jail for serving god. It’s jail for being too fucking loud when you’ve already been told bunches of times to turn the sound down. Be nice to your neighbours and respect their right to a quiet night.

“They are trying to tell us how not to worship. We have church at 7:30, so what does that mean we only have 30 minutes to worship? ” Clark says.

At the “Pump up the volume!” level, yes. After eight, worship all you want, but at reduced volumes. I don’t see the problem here beyond outright stubbornness and a belief that you’re all above the rules. You have to abide by city rules too, not just the god rules you’ve cherry picked to follow. By this story, I guess “love thy neighbours” is one you’ve opted to ignore.

If you want more than a half hour of loud, have your service at 4pm or something. There’s nothing in the bible that states service must be at 7:30 or you all go to hell. Adjust your services so you can abide by the law. Stubbornness again.

Borders believes that their rights are being violated because they can’t praise God in their own way. He says the real problem is that the city noise ordinance isn’t specific.

This is not about the city’s general noise ordinance now. This is about the specific injunction you refused to follow.

“It’s up to the neighbors to say if its irritating to them or a nuisance to them. Well you can get a weed eater and go outside and if someone complains nothing will be done, but when it comes to worshiping God its now a problem,” said Borders.

Nobody in their right mind would hook a weed eater up to an advanced sound system and crank the volume for as long as one your services likely runs. If someone did that, you can be damned sure complaints would roll in and something would be done about it, pronto. Especially if the same thing happened night after night after night…

The church has owned the property for several years and thinks it’s not fair that they are being punished because of the close proximity to their neighbors.

Wah wah wah, we want special treatment! Sorry. You can’t have it. Rules are rules and you’ve been told repeatedly to be quiet after 8pm. Did you guys go deaf from all the loud music?

Also, did the neighbourhood pop up over night, or was the church property already surrounded by housing when you bought the land? Even if it’d been on the outskirts of town at purchase however many years ago, it’s part of the city now due to urban expansion and has to abide by city rules like everyone else in that neighbourhood.

You’re not like the alligator in Florida who used someone’s swimming pool because the swamp they used to hunt in got landscaped over when the city expanded. (The gator in the story was relocated to a special farm, not killed. That’s special treatment and deserved.)

The church admits they should have soundproofing but they’re complaining that it’s too expensive to overhaul the church. I wonder how much they paid to overhaul their entertainment system, myself. There was money galore for that, I’m guessing.

Maybe they should try a Kickstarter campaign or something. For all they know, their neighbours would be more than willing to throw a few hundred bucks their way in order to shut them up…

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