March 27, 2013, - 12:01 pm
The continued acceptance of gay marriage isn’t the only sign that America is losing the culture and religious wars. The growing number of former churches (most of them Catholic) being turned into condos is another. I’ve already noted that several Catholic churches and former convents and nunneries in the Detroit area have been bought by Muslims and converted into mosques. That’s sad. Also sad are the growing numbers of churches across America which go out of business and are converted to dwellings. The Wall Street Journal, last year, lauded this “architectural development” as a high brow lifestyle move. But it is, instead, a stark, sad sign of the defeat of Western religion and Western society. On top of being completely disrespectful, it’s tragic.
Is Your Church Now Someone’s Living Room . . .
While much of the buzz surrounding the new Pope has died down, there are many cultural signs beyond the statistics that illuminate the challenges he faces as Catholicism dies out in places like the United States. I mentioned that when he was Cardinal in Argentina, the country’s active Catholic population shrank to below 20% (Argentina has a 94% Catholic population, but less than 20% are actually religious now, and the rest are lapsed) while its Muslim population doubled. We’ve seen a similar trend in America, and it is largely mirrored throughout the Western world. And the conversion of churches to homes across not only the U.S., but also the Western world is a stark reminder of it. Ask yourself how many mosques you’ve seen close up shop and be converted into condos in America or the UK. I bet you can think of few, if any, examples. And that’s the point here. Western religions are dying while Islam grows and we do nothing to stop the Islamic threat.
While the number of mosques in America has doubled since 9/11, the number of Catholic churches that have closed since then in America is in the thousands and there has been about a 10% shrinkage in the number of Catholic churches in America since the attacks. And that’s just Catholic churches. Other churches are seeing similar numbers, and they are all shrinking, and the number of synagogues is also decreasing. Some synagogues are also being converted to homes, even though it’s technically against Jewish law. You just don’t see this with mosques because, sadly, Islam is winning the war of the minds. You don’t have to play chess to understand that the rest of us are losing the long-term match.
[There are] a number of church-to-home luxury conversions popping up around the country. As dozens of churches close or move to different quarters each year, they’re finding second lives as condo developments and townhouses.
The conversion process is growing more common as shrinking congregations and shifting demographics have made it difficult for some congregations to stay afloat financially. According to a March report from CoStar Group, a real-estate research firm, 138 church-owned properties across the country were sold by banks last year, compared with 24 three years earlier.
Synagogue Now Someone’s Pad . . .
The Roman Catholic Church, for example, has closed hundreds of churches in recent years. In 2000, there were 19,236 Roman Catholic parishes across the U.S.; that figure fell to 17,644 by 2012, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a nonprofit research organization that compiles church statistics. United Methodists have seen the number of churches shrink by about 7% over the past decade or so, with 300 to 400 churches closing or merging each year. In 2000, United Methodists had 35,537 churches, compared with 33,069 in 2011. . . .
In the Boston area, more than a dozen churches have been converted to residential projects over the past decade or so. That’s in part because there has been a steady supply. The Archdiocese of Boston closed 76 parishes in the metro area under a 2004 consolidation plan, selling 38 of those for just over $73 million. (To signify that a church is no longer a church, the archbishop signs a decree that relegates the building to “profane use.”)
One of the churches closed was a Tudor-style church called St. Aidan’s in Brookline, Mass., where John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both baptized. It reopened in 2009 as a residential project. . . .
The adaptive reuse of churches has become a popular practice in other countries, like the U.K. In 2006, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that since 2001, about 500 churches in London alone had been converted into homes.
Say good-bye, America and Europe. We won’t see it our lifetime, but a few generations from now it won’t just be the end of the church (and synagogue) and the embrace of gay marriage in Western civilization that will do us in. It will be that the religion whose houses of worship are only growing in number (instead of being converted into upscale places to live)–Islam–will fill the void.
That’s already happening. While we are asleep at the switch, dismantling Western civilization at the Supreme Court . . . and the skyline of your city. In the war of architecture, just as in the spiritual war, we are losing.
And guess who’s having the last laugh?
Tags: Christianity, Christians, Church to Home Conversions, churches, Churches converted to homes, Islam, Islamic threat, Jews, Judaism, mosques, shrinking number of churches, Synagogue to Home Conversions, Synagogues, Synagogues converted to homes