Land-Use, Cemeteries and Chutzpa

This is another one you just can’t help but to shake your head at. It seems that up in Northern California, the owner of some 220 acres wanted to build a housing subdivision but the local county killed it. So he proposed the creation of a serene cemetery on 60 acres. But hey man — this is California, the place where land ownership, though not quite a crime, is highly disfavored. So as our hapless owner reached a point of city and county approvals, the predictable happened. Local NIMBYs objected. So far this is non-news. But these NIMBYs are special, and so are the grounds for their objections to the cemetery. Click on  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/09/us/cemetery-plan-clashes-with-neighbors-culture.html

They are largely Chinese and Indian and they claim that  as natives of China and India they believe that living near a cemetery — even one that would not be visible from their homes — is taboo, so they have a right to keep the cemetery from being created. It might “cast a pall on the community” and not only that but  “[t]hey will be forcing kids to see funeral processions. . .” Oh dear. We don’t know how they do it in China, but here in Gringoland a funeral procession consists of a line of [usually] fancy cars, with their lights on, making their dignified way to the cemetery. So how would that scare the kids? This, they tell us not. To say nothing of the fact that the proposed cemetery, we repeat, would not be visible from the subdivision that is home to these NIMBYs.

All of this, however, is nothing. Lurking in this absurd NIMBY v. landowner controversy is an act of breathtaking cultural chutzpa. Mind you we are not opposed to immigrants — your faithful servant is one himself. But surely, there must be limits to everything — even to NIMBY style chutzpa, whether by natives or foreigners. And it is chutzpa indeed for a bunch of foreigners to come to the U.S. where they are welcomed with open arms and encouraged to prosper, but instead of showing some gratitude, they announce that the ways, customs and culture of their new home country count for nothing and that they should be trumped by the  culture of their abandoned old country.

That, folks, is towering ingratitude that deserves being brushed off, not considered on the merits, as it evidently is by the local land-use regulators. Freedom of religion entitles one to protection of one’s own religious customs and culture but it does not entitle one to dictate to other religious denominations how they should conduct themselves concerning something so intimately solemn and personal as the burial of their next of kin. And if you insist that your religious, “cultural” norms should trump other people’s, that isn’t freedom of religion — that’s cultural imperialism.

 

 

 

 

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