By Scott Tibbs, August 5, 2009
People in Bloomington love to blather endlessly about how this is an "open" and "tolerant" community. The motto of city government is that Bloomington is a "safe and civil" city. We have task forces and commissions for this and that, we have a human rights ordinance, and we do various things to celebrate "diversity." We are a college town, in that Indiana University dominates the landscape and educates people about all sorts of ideas. We have a number of privately sponsored forums and demonstrations throughout the year to celebrate "diversity" and "tolerance."
Monday night, the shameful intolerance of this community was on full display. A group of "neighbors" petitioned the city of Bloomington to allow zero parking passes for the caregivers of a man with cerebral palsy, who uses a wheelchair and requires around-the-clock care. The man, Robert Kaplowitz, is a deacon at Church of the Good Shepherd. For years, Bob has had men live with him rent-free in exchange for providing the care he needs. "Bob's house" has produced a number of godly and righteous men who are committed to serving their church and their community, with skills learned and sanctification gained by caring for Bob.
But that's not good enough for the "neighbors" in the area, who sought "relief" from city government for the minor inconvenience caused by people parking at the residence. Their whining to city government about occupancy forced Bob to apply for a variance to the "unrelated adults" rule that was put in place to limit student rentals. Instead of proposing a limit to street parking, the "neighbors" wanted no one parking on the street at all. This proposal is clearly discrimination against the disabled, as the Planning Department's report states that "three parking permits is what would generally be permitted for any single family residence in the neighborhood that is occupied by three unrelated adults." The Plan Commission worked out a compromise that three passes would be allowed for the residence.
The hypocrisy is sickening. People in Bloomington flap their gums endlessly about "tolerance" and city government passes laws protecting perversity, but when caregivers for a disabled man cause a minor inconvenience for "neighbors" they go crying to city government to demand a policy that would discriminate against the disabled. That is sick and depraved. We've seen this kind of intolerance before, when Leftists stinking of body odor screeched "get out of our community" to people holding a meeting at Bloomington North to help Bloomington plan for Interstate 69. We see this intolerance in amendment after amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance proclaiming what buildings and homes may look like.
I have to wonder, have any of the "neighbors" considered that they might be disabled someday and require round the clock care? Have they considered that in-home care might be the only thing keeping them out of a nursing home? What will they think if the other "neighbors" then seek sanctions against their caregivers? The "neighbors" would do well to open their Bibles to Galatians 6:7, where God's Word warns us: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.