Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Smokers, get religion!

(image credit: Covenant Zone)

Dutch pub and cafe owners have found a way to end-run around punitive new anti-smoking laws -- start a church for smokers.

Charles Henry at Covenant Zone translates from 7sur7:

"The holy trinity venerated in the church will be 'smoke, fire, and ash', explained Cor Bush, the owner of the "Le Tilleul" cafe, who said he wanted to defend 'religious freedom' as stated in the Netherlands' constitution for the mostly protestant country consisting of many 'churches'. The faithful that join the church will received a card and would be authorized to light a cigarette, while those without a card would have to respect the smoking ban, he added.

"A dozen cafes have come forward to join his 'church', Mr. Bush said; he plans to hang a certicate to the front of these establishments, explaining that 'the community of the church of smokers are free to smoke so that they may honor the Good Lord in peace'. ..."

Hey, whatever works!

As a smoker, I've long been of the opinion that given proper ventilation in an establishment, there's no reason smokers and non-smokers can't co-exist. I can (almost) see eating establishments banning it; but pubs and cafes should be sacrosanct.

Way to go Dutch!


Charles Henry said...

Thanks for the link, Eowyn..!

I've been of two minds on this story. My libertarian side is cheering them on, giving them a big thumb's up. It should be left up to the individual businesses to make decisions on what kind of direction they want to run their business; some can remain traditional, and others can choose to change. Leave them to choose on their own.

The side of me that goes to church every Sunday, however, is very sad to see faith treated this way. Only a pretty die-hard atheist would go through with a cynical plan like this, seems to me. The report is pretty thin on facts, and since it's a written piece and not a video story, we can't tell by tone of voice or the look in mr. Bush's eyes just what he might be thinking as he creates his new church...
...but I'm tempted to take this as a sign of how increasingly irreligious Western Europe has become.

So, like I said, I'm very conflicted over whether to let out a hearty laugh, or sigh in despair.

Eowyn said...

Despite my cheeky take, I, too, hate to see people having to resort to this to conduct business.

You're right; we can't be sure the spirit in which Mr. Bush is conducting this move. And it's a mark of just how far away from faith things have gotten in Europe that a stunt like this could even be considered.