By Kent Larsen
Temple Arguments Boil Down to Religious Necessity of Steeple
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Lawyers for the LDS Church and for neighbors of the
Boston Temple argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Court Friday over the
Temple's steeple, with the Church claiming that a steeple is a religious
necessity while the neighbors argue that the Church is trying to use the
state's Dover Amendment to get around zoning laws. It is not known when the
court will issue a ruling in the case.
In its arguments, Church lawyer Paul Killeen claimed that a steeple is more
than just a design element of the Temple. "The aesthetics of the steeple ...
serve a religious purpose. They believe the design is by revelation." said
Killeen. "The design is intended to send a message to the world."
The neighbor's lawyer, Arthur Kreiger, claimed that the religious importance
of the steeple isn't crucial, "Don't give us this standard stuff from Salt
Lake City, and then say we're a religion and this is magic," Kreiger argued.
But at least one Justice questioned his line of thought. "Wouldn't it be
unreasonable to say to a church that you can't put on top of it the one
architectural feature that will identify this to everyone as a church?"
asked Justice Martha Sosman.
Kreiger went on to argue that if the court decides that the Temple's steeple
is permissible while others have built their steeples within the law, it
would violate the constitutional separation between church and state. "If
that doesn't get this court into assessing doctrine and comparing religions,
I don't know what does. They [the LDS Church and the town of Belmont] don't
just open the door, they barreled through it."
Mormon temple debate heads to state's highest court
Boston Globe (AP) 12Jan01 N1
By Steve Leblanc: Associated Press
Mormon News' Coverage of the Boston Temple Challenges