Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heaven Help Us

I think NIMBYism has gone too far when the target of the naysaying moves beyond landfills and nuclear waste dumps, to focus on . . . monasteries. Yes, monasteries. The kind that have monks.

"To maintain their seclusion, the monks have their eyes on a 2,500-acre ranch about 50 miles away in a rugged area with creeks fed by looming mountains. The area has few roads, a few widely dispersed ranch homes, a few scattered oil and gas wells. The ranch is about 14 miles from the nearest public road, and the nearest town, 20 miles away, is Meeteetse, population about 350, that is most famous for the arrest of outlaw Butch Cassidy in 1894.

They plan to build a monastery mainly of stone with 30 separate hermitages for monks, a small dormitory for men in training to become monks, a commons area and a church spire rising the equivalent of 15 stories.

Ranch owner Dave Grabbert, whose family has held the property since 1938, has agreed to sell to the religious order, and he describes the two monks he has met as personable, intelligent and "just decent guys."

"I don't care if they're Hindus, Buddhists or what they are, but being decent people, that's really a plus in this day and age," Grabbert said. "Not everyone is."

Some of his neighbors object to the sale, citing concerns about traffic, wildlife, water -- and questioning whether the massive stone structure fits with the rural landscape.

"The plans look like someone took an old cathedral and just dropped it onto our beautiful landscape," Mary Elliott, who lives about 15 miles from the site, wrote to the Planning and Zoning Commission. She noted the religious order wouldn't be paying property taxes.

"As their contribution to this community will be prayer rather than property taxes the town will take a large loss on the currently paid property taxes," Elliott wrote. "As for prayer, I am sure we are all grateful for that but are capable of doing that ourselves."

Heaven help the country that has lost its mind.

Not to mention its soul.

P.S. An editorial writer at The Casper Star Tribune apparently had the same reaction to this story as I did, resulting in this well-deserved scolding.

No comments: