Money Changers in the Temple
Don't ask how or why I got there: you know how the blogosphere works...The fact is, I did find my way to The Donald's Blog over at Trump U and he had a post on ATMs that are now being placed in some churches. No surprises that the ever-enterprising Mr. Trump thinks it's a "smart idea," that might just take off.
So far, most of the churches that have picked up on the money-making trend are Protestant and in the South. But if the machines are successful enough, I think this will be a belief that will span all faiths.
Just why this would bother me is a mystery. It certainly makes business sense to put ATM machines where people congregate and need cash. And I can think of few ATM placements that will have less of an impact on my life.
Maybe I don't like the idea because I grew up going to one of those old-fashioned, urban Catholic churches that was actually quite beautiful - you know, the ones that Hollywood uses when they want dramatic visuals. Our Lady of the Angels was a grand "Irish gothic" structure with vaulted ceilings, arches galore, wrought iron lanterns, and some of the most magnificent stained glass windows this side of the Vatican. (One interesting feature of these windows was that they depicted events and people associated with American Catholicism - John Barry, father of the US Navy, etc. If you were bored at Mass, you could "read" the windows and try to figure out who was who.) So it may be that I don't like the idea of ATMs on an aesthetic basis. Maybe they'd be OK in one of the more modern suburban churches: the ones built in the sixties where all the statues kind of look like JFK.
But I also find ATM's in churches peculiar on religious grounds. Not that I know all that much about the Bible - I went to parochial school in a time and a place where most of our attention was focused on "our rules" and the only source document you needed was the Baltimore II Catechism - but I seem to recall something about "money changers in the temple" being driven out by a really ticked off Jesus.
Perhaps the churches are getting around this by making sure that there's no surcharge for cross-bank transactions.
I'll leave Donald Trump with the final, depressing word:
If there's one thing that can cross all boundaries - color, politics, religion - it's money.