Should Church goers get free parking?
CHURCHGOERS park for free on Sundays between 7am and 1pm in Woking, Surrey.
But The National Secular Society says Woking Borough Council’s policy is unfair. It says it’s discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief and that it contravened the Equality Act
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the NSS, said:
“The equal treatment of all, regardless of belief or non-belief, is a key secular principle. We have launched this challenge to preferential treatment of worshippers because it is neither legitimate nor lawful for local government to subsidise the activities of any particular religion and belief group. It would be fairer if the council either charged worshippers for parking, as they do everyone else, or provided free parking for all.”
But others also get parking perks. The council’s website tells us:
Differential charging levels for season tickets, based on a vehicle’s CO² emission rating (determined by the Vehicle Certification Agency). A 50% discount on the price of car park season tickets is applied for vehicles that produce the lowest emissions (CO² band A), and a 25% discount for vehicles in band B. Vehicles with a band G rating (the highest band) pay a 25% surcharge.
Blue Badge holders may register with Woking Borough Council so that they can be issued with a proximity card which will permit entry and exit to the car park without the need to draw a ticket at the barrier or use the “pay on foot” paystations.
In addition, Blue Badge Holders may:
Park on single and double yellow lines for up to 3 hours, except where loading restrictions apply and
Park in pay and display/voucher parking bays without payment for an unlimited period, except where those bays are suspended or become evening taxi ranks.
Motorcycles, scooters and mopeds may be parked free of charge in the following town centre car parks…
I am undertaking work at a location and want to park my vehicle in a restricted area – how do I obtain a dispensation?
A Waiver Certificate may be issued to allow a commercial vehicle (van, truck or lorry – not a private motor vehicle, estate car or 4×4) to park on a single yellow line during the hours of restriction if there is a proven need that the presence of the vehicle is required to enable the driver to carry out his work and not just as a means of providing somewhere for the vehicle to be parked.
So much discrimination. As local man Mark Robertson, 57, says:
“If you are going to give one group of people free parking then you need to give it to them all.”
Places of worship, and the faith communities that they serve, play an important role, both in society in general and Woking in particular. They encourage people to participate in society, thereby promoting social inclusion
They also the policy is open to all faith groups. The Secular Society may care to rebrand themselves as people of faith who meet in Starbucks.
And if Woking gives you a ticket at any other time, quote them Romans. 14:5-6:
“One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.”
And Acts 17:24:
“God…dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”
So worship God anywhere. You car can be your church.
PS – Christian worship is on Sunday, the same as the day that Jesus rose from the dead. But God wanted man to rest on the Seventh Day and that’s Saturday.