Community is violated by church break-ins

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Editorial: Feb. 19, 2012

ISSUE: Theft at seven local churches
OUR VIEW: Burglaries take more than possessions

Respect for the property and possessions of others is the first behavioral lesson taught by well-meaning parents. The concept is affirmed in every basic rule of law. It dates back to ancient times and was quite clearly stated when Moses delivered God’s top 10 expectations: Thou shall not steal.

That’s No. 8 in the Ten Commandments.

It may be universally believed and widely taught but society must deal with its impact yet today.

Homeowners plundered by thieves often express a profound feeling of violation. A residential burglary robs our sense of comfort and security as well as assorted trinkets and cash.

But when a house of worship is violated by common criminals, the sense of violation is shared by the community at large. When six break-ins occur on the same weekend, we all feel the shock.

Whether you worship today or on Saturdays or never worship at all, most right-thinking people would consider a church building to be a haven from the world’s troubles. Every mosque, synagogue, temple and Kingdom Hall deserves to be treated with respect.

Congregations in Eastview, Stephensburg and Radcliff learned last week that it is not always so.

Police investigations continue as does a collective sense of outrage.

Church members dealing today with missing microphones and instruments or working without an audio system will make the best of the circumstances. They will pray for forgiveness and guidance while seeking to understand these despicable acts.

Members of other congregations and faiths will find themselves distracted from worship as they look more carefully in dark corners and examine security equipment.

Money spent to replace stolen items will deplete delicate church budgets. Money better invested on moral training, community outreach and feeding the poor likely will be diverted to repairing doors, buying sturdy locks and installing security cameras.

Determined thieves can circumvent our best efforts. It’s important to remember that no earthly measures can bring us complete security. Among the items reported stolen at Gloryland Harvest was its security system.

People of all faiths rely on places of worship to help them discover a path to eternal security. The thieves responsible for these break-ins are invited to join in that search and find the inner peace offered through true repentence.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.