The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie (SHoWLE) urge Toledo city officials and US Rep. Marcy Kaptur not to insert themselves in the effort to save St. Anthony Catholic Church on Nebraska Avenue.
“Seeing Rep. Kaptur and current and past Toledo elected officials standing at a podium with the city of Toledo seal, demanding the Diocese of Toledo not tear down St. Anthony is troubling,” Doug Berger, President of SHoWLE said.
The separation of church and state not only protects the government from religious intrusion but also protects religion from some intrusion by the government.
“It sets a bad precedent, especially as organized religion continues to lose members,” Berger said. “The City of Toledo can’t save all the old churches in the city and when it chooses not to then that is going to be a no win situation.”
The Diocese of Toledo, in a statement, wondered where the calls to save the building were for the past 13 years after it closed and as the building continued to deteriorate.
“The government officials demanding the building not be torn down will stick the Diocese with the repair bills should they prevail. The only way for tax dollars to be spent on a renovation and/or reuse would require the property be sold to a non-religious entity at a fair market price,” Berger said.
The misleading statement by a community member that demolition would be a health and safety issue is also a problem.
“If the building were kept, it would still need any asbestos and lead paint removed and it would have to meet modern building standards. I don’t think the Diocese hired a fly by night demolition company who wouldn’t take the required precautions in tearing down such an old building.”
The building is historical and significant to many people in the community but there hasn’t been any specific plans from the people wanting to keep it.
SHoWLE believes that Rep. Kaptur and the city of Toledo shouldn’t pick sides in the issue and they should stay neutral as called for in the 1st amendment.