The Parks & Recreation Department in Liberty, Missouri is sponsoring a summer concert series, which sounds all well and good. In fact, this August, the KC All Stars will be playing.
Over the weekend, though, the concert series kicked off with a performance by Sidewalk Prophets, a Christian band.
Food collected at the concert will be donated to In As Much Ministries, a food bank for needy families, said [parks director Dennis] Dovel. He said he was pleased with the way it all played out for the first concert.
“I think the event went off fantastic. I don’t think we could have asked for a better group to start off our concert series,” Dovel said. “It brought a lot of people to the Square.”
I don’t mind the voluntary collection for a food bank, but why are public officials using tax money to bring in a decidedly Christian group to perform?
I called Mr. Dovel to ask him about it and this is what he said:
We are 70% supported by fees and 30% supported by taxes… we are not making any statement as far as denomination, Christianity or anything like that. We brought them in purely from an entertainment standpoint.
From talking to him, I don’t get the impression that this was some nefarious Christian scheme. It just sounds like ignorance — they don’t know that they did anything wrong. Considering they had an audience of up to 2,000 people, they’re probably just thrilled so many people showed up.
If I lived in Liberty, though, I would be pretty pissed off that my city officials paid for a Christian band to come to town to spread their gospel. Let the churches spend the money, not the local government.
Potential lawsuits aside, if you live there and you’re upset about how some of your tax money is being used, let the city council and Parks & Rec department know how you feel. Otherwise, nothing’s going to change.
(Thanks to @kmccoy for the link)