Attorney General Crist vs. Jax City Council?

April 28, 2006 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

We have said before that the passage of Ordinance Number 2006-176 (remember, the one where public dollars were given to 1st Timothy Baptist Church) was wrong on many levels. This is the issue that the city just can't stop talking about. But very few are doing anything about it, other than voicing their opinions. We at Metro Jacksonville feel it is time for something to be done. An official state investigation just might do the trick.Here is your chance to let the State Attorney General know how you feel.

Many have questioned whether it was the right thing to do to give $1.1 million in Duval County taxpayer dollars to First Timothy Baptist Church to build a gym. I suppose some of these people are questioning the ethics behind doing such a thing.

Some have questioned the opening of Pandora's Box. These citizens wonder what's stopping the Council from giving money to other churches in the city that would like to build a gym. After passage of this Ordinance, the Council would be hard-pressed to cite a legitimate reason why they shouldn't. And that is scary to quite a few Duval citizens.

Others are questioning whether it was the right thing to do for the City Council to waive 2 of its own rules to allow taxpayer dollars to go to this church. These citizens wonder what power we have to reign in our elected representatives who pass rules and regulations only to break them for political reasons.

And then there are those who probably have the most legally-founded questions. These are the ones who question whether it was, in fact, a legal Ordinance that the Council and Mayor passed. These people point to Article 1, Section 3 of the State Constitution which states, in part, "No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution." To these citizens, their Office of General Council failed them in allowing the Jacksonville City Council to pass (unanimously) this Ordinance.

But all is not lost. This last group of citizens (which includes the local head of the ACLU) actually do have a path to take to air their grievances. That path leads to the doorsteps (or mailbox) of State Attorney General Charlie Crist. Citizens can easily go to this PDF complaint form, print it and mail it to Mr. Crist to start the ball rolling on overturning this questionable Ordinance. We would also suggest including the actual Ordinance text.To any concerned citizen: If you choose to go this route, we will support you whole-heartedly and document your quest every step of the way. Just let us know.