Recently as I searched for hotspots in Birmingham, my search brought up this article about the latest words of the quite wordy Birmingham mayor, Larry Langford.
As the article begins, you can probably tell where it goes from there.
"Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford wants churches to join him in making the city Internet ready. And he says it won't cost much to introduce the technology to the entire city and give school children access to the Internet."
Suprised? Not so much, but I thought it was supremely interesting especially in light of "Church City" here in Birmingham. Langford himself is probably a church attender, and I do not fault him for wanting churches to be his lengthy list of community centers.
The first part of this statement I agree with:
"The city needs to be WiFi ready," he said Wednesday. "The digital divide in this city is unacceptable."
The second, though, makes the issue seemingly a rich-poor divide, and one which the church is to tackle at that.
Life, Liberty, and an Internet Connection
Plainly, I have no problem with the city wanting to make WiFi available for every person. The article makes reference to the fact that Birmingham City Schools has purchased laptop computers for every 1st-8th grade student in the system. This purchase may be a good thing...time will tell. Also, having available internet access for everyone could be viewed positively, and there are obviously some opportunities which come with the internet. However, for most people their personal use of the internet in the home is primarily for social and recreational use - am I right? Internet is there along with cable TV and a Playstation 3, right?
Calling All Churches
The call for churches to be the agents of change is utterly off the mark. The article explains that the mayor met with area pastors to share his idea and to ask for their help. Too bad I didn't know this meeting was happening or I would have been there in a heartbeat. Talk about fun!
I would have gotten kicked out, though, for probably feeling the need to mention what the church is all about. The sad thing is that I am guessing there are numerous pastors and scores of people who think this is not only a great idea, but it's the kind of thing that more churches should be doing. Churches should exist to help create a better society - that's the apparent consensus!
The understanding of "church" has been so neutralized that providing an internet connection has become one of the best things imaginable by society. Even better, people could access the internet just by bearing near a church building and never have to enter. Perfect! Parking spaces labeled "Internet" could be set up right next to those labeled "Senior Saints."