November 1, 2008
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Madison: Joy Fellowship Church in Hopewell, Virginia has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for creating very loud noise that shows anything but love for their neighbors. The noise created by Joy Fellowship Church is ungodly.
Hopewell, Virginia is a waterfront community located 24 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia, near the James and Appomattox rivers.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a neighbor had called the police to complain about the Joy Fellowship Church more than 100 times. Another time, the Hopewell police wrote a ticket to Joy Fellowship Church for hosting a very noisy event where 170 children were present.
Reached to comment about the Noisy Dozen award, a church member cited a Biblical verse which states, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
However, Noise Free America member Mike Smith notes, “The Bible also clearly states that we are to ‘love thy neighbor’ and respect the rights of others. Leviticus 19:18 states, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'”
There are numerous Bible verses which support the importance of peace and quiet:
-Psalms 107:30: “Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringest them unto their desired haven.”
-Isiah 32:18: “And my people shall dwell in a peaceful habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”
-1 Thessalonians 2:2: “For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
The church member also maintained that “freedom of religion is protected from any interference of government… You may not like it, but it is a protected activity….The ‘noise’ in question was not noise but praise and worship in a church and religious setting.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, noted that “this church member shows a complete lack of understanding of the Constitution–and the nature of noise. ‘Religious freedom’ does not mean that churches are immune from the law. Churches are not allowed to do anything in the name of ‘religious freedom.’ Also, noise is defined as ‘unwanted sound.’ Obviously, to its neighbors, the noise made by Joy Fellowship Church is clearly unwanted.”
The Hopewell city council is considering an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance, which would state that the “creation and continuation of any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise within the city is hereby prohibited.” The noise would be unlawful if it “is detrimental to the life and health of any individual…or such noise unreasonably disturbs the quiet and peace of any citizen.”
Mike Smith concluded, “Noise has many adverse health effects on humans. God is a God of love, not a God of unnecessary pain and suffering. The excessive noise that the Joy Fellowship Church defends is positively ungodly.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution (www.noisefree.org). Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Richmond, Virginia; Warren, Ohio; and Lincoln, Nebraska.