Several months ago, this newspaper took the county commissioners to task on two issues: What we believed was its lack of concern and compassion for the weakest among us (home health) and greed (pay raises for itself). The Lincoln Times-News believed then as it does now that it was incumbent upon us to be the voice for those who might otherwise go unheard or worse, unheeded. As a result, the commissioners listened and reversed themselves on the former but not the latter.
It is incumbent upon this newspaper to hold our public officials up to the light of scrutiny. The same applies towards any organization that carries with it an important amount of influence; the common good must be served.
A recent decision by our county commissioners warrants that this newspaper weigh in once again.
Although there is a fine line between government and religion, we believe the county commissioners were correct in calling for the enforcement of guidelines regarding the use on Sundays of the James W. Warren Citizens Center. Those guidelines clearly state hours are to be between 1 – 11 p.m. As a result of the expanded hours of use on Sundays, First Presbyterian Church was being adversely affected.
At the same time, it should not have slammed the door shut on those establishments that will be affected. These businesses, the restaurants, hotels and others, rely upon the trade visitors supply. This revenue enables them to employ people and make a decent profit; in short, live out the American dream, which also includes attending church. It also provides, through taxes, monies needed for Lincolnton and Lincoln County to function, which includes the operation of the Citizens Center. Their voice and needs must also be heard and respected.
There certainly is room for negotiation and compromise when it comes to the hours of Sunday use of the center. One suggestion that immediately comes to mind is permitting some events be allowed to operate outside the hours the guidelines call for, but limiting that number.
Once again, the commissioners need to go back to the drawing board, along with the affected parties, and devise a solution all can live with.
As we earlier stated, there is a fine line between government and religion. We also stated that the common good must be served. In Lincoln County, religion makes up the woof and weave of its society, and that has to be acknowledged. So does commerce, and that also has to be acknowledged. We need both, and we need both to work in harmony and respect with one another.