Thursday, March 26, 2009

bars and churches


Following up B's post about her secret building crush... Apparently the Flynn Paint building is being renovated into a bar and restaurant called "The Hill". They haven't opened their doors yet, but controversy is brewing.

The Muslim Community of Knoxville (a local mosque) is 191 feet away. Why is this a problem? Certain local laws, a legacy of our prohibitionist past, states that no alcohol serving place can be within 300 feet of a place of worship. Bureaucracy has kicked in- the city regulates beer permits, the state issues liquor licenses. The city has chosen to wait and see what the state does, however it would seem silly to not let beer be sold where liquor and wine were permitted. The restaurantueur, Trevor Hill, seems unconcerned. However, the mosque is against having alcohol so near to them. Potentially, a precedent might be set if the state issues a liquor license that would overturn our local law.

From an urban standpoint, a new business at 11th Street and Western Ave. would be welcome. With the Valarium nearby, the no man's land between downtown and the inner neighborhoods seems to be filling in with activity. I understand religious places not wanting what they consider immoral activity close to them, but this is a city. Living in an urban context often means living near a lot of people who are not like you and dealing with it. To that point, is legally segregating certain lifestyles within the city moral? Hopefully as we live beside each other and learn from one another, maybe we'll see that such laws are no longer needed.

Is keeping alcohol away from churches important? What are the pros and cons of separation? What do you think?

11 comments:

Discordia said...

I'm highly interested to see where this goes, especially given the local fundies and their eagerness to protest anything for themselves. Talk about a conundrum.


I hope in a way it does get overruled...it's a silly archaic law which doesn't really matter anymore. I'm just sad it's going to have to happen to one of Knoxville's few mosques for it to set the precedent.

The Modern Gal said...

I can't say I look at that building and see restaurant and bar, but then I guess that's why I've never become a successful restauranteur :)

Can anyone better explain the Muslim's Community's position? It's my understanding that Islam outright prohibits alcohol, but I don't know much more than that.

Maybe I'm playing the devil's advocate here -- if a religious institution sees alcohol and the people who consume it as a problem, then doesn't being located near a place that serves alcohol present an opportunity for that religious institution to try to minister to them?

Lord Von Lord said...

Aren't there several churches downtown that are close to restaurants or bars? Maybe 300 hundred feet isn't as much as I am thinking.

Regardless of the specific faith, I see no reason for such archaic laws these days. Booze it up.

micah daniel said...

I agree with discordia's concern about setting this precedent with a local mosque. is having another night club/bar worth creating discord between local muslims and the fort? I certainly understand the reasons why the 300 feet law is slightly absurd, but surely this is more about muslim relations than selling alcohol, at least the way i see it.

I am particularly concerned in light of the comments that were left on the news story that ck linked. these comments, granted there are only two of them and may represent a slim minority of knoxville, showcase the kind of cross cultural insensitivity that should also be archaic.

Isn't this an opportunity to respect a local minority community? Maybe there are ways to legalize the sale of alcohol at the hill without completely disregarding the genuine concerns of these local worshippers. Maybe this could start an interesting constructive conversation?

Mackey said...

I don't believe Mr. Hill went out of his way to offend the mosque, it sounds more like he had an economic opportunity to open a bar/restaurant that happened to be close to a religious establishment.

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B said...

i think bars need the church... and some church members could use a beer or two. the law is old and should be changed starting with dialogue between both parties. maybe i'm not being sensitive enough, but i don't think it matters whether the precedence starts with a church or a mosque.

micah daniel said...

"i think bars need the church... and some church members could use a beer or two. the law is old and should be changed starting with dialogue between both parties"

i couldn't agree more with this b. i just hope that the bar and the mosque can coexist with mutual respect.

also, to mackey, i would respond that i certainly am not ensuing that Mr. Hill had any ill intentions. I only hope that these new neighbors can be understanding of each other, as all neighbors should be.

i would be interested to hear more about why the religious leader has an issue with the bar, besides not condoning the consumption of alcohol by muslims.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is also that Islam forbids alcohol. The Christian church, on the other hand, was founded by a guy who turned water into wine.

Rob Howard said...

To Dojos and Tai Chi centers fit in with this rule? Who defines a place of worship. I don't like government much these days.

Anonymous said...

So is Sacramental wine alcohol free? Do Catholic churches have to get some kind of variance?

Seems like this particular law may already be invalid...

ded