Chicago mayor declares war on church that held services, collateral damage hits neighbors

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot may have exempted herself from her own prohibition on haircuts, but she made and carried out drastic, and probably illegal, threats against a church that announced its plans to hold Sunday services yesterday.  Evidently, only important people like the mayor get to exercise their constitutional rights.

CBS Chicago covered the mayor's threats on Saturday:

People heading to Philadelphia Romanian Church in Ravenswood on Sunday might have a hard time finding a parking spot.

Ald. Matt Martin (47th) said no-parking signs have been put up for several surrounding blocks near the church at 1713 W. Sunnyside Ave. The signs have been mounted on Sunnyside Avenue between Greenview and Ravenswood avenues, and Paulina Street between Lawrence and Berteau avenues, Martin's office said.

The parking ban is in effect from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, according to Martin's office.

Martin said the signs were put up at the direction of the Mayor's office, in response to plans by the church to hold one or more religious services — in violation of the stay-at-home order for the coronavirus pandemic.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Florin T. Cimpean, took aim at Mayor Lori Lightfoot in response to the parking ban.

"The police called me to inform us that they were asked by the mayor to put up the signs. It is completely ridiculous," Cimpean said in the statement. "The mayor is inciting hate against the church which is very sad. A lot of our members risked their lives to escape Communism, only to find it germinating in 2020 under mayor Lightfoot in Chicago."

Yesterday, the mayor carried out her threat...and then some.  Via Second City Cop:

City tow trucks arrived and yanked the vehicles of every single resident, including numerous elderly people and a more than a few nurses coming in from the night shifts and impounded them for violation of the signs that got posted Saturday with under twenty-four hours notice. The City also "closed" the private lot that the church used for parishioners in some half-assed attempt to force church-goers to park on the streets, streets listed as temporary tow zones to snatch their cars, too.

Here is a picture of one of the no parking signs that blanketed the neighborhood, courtesy of an AT reader.

Note that as threatened, it covers all day, not just the time of the church service.  The neighborhood, which is densely populated, is ordinarily crowded and difficult to park in, which is why the church has leased use of a bank parking lot in Sundays.  This all-day prohibition punished local residents, perhaps in an effort to turn them against the church that graces their area.  The church is a large and beautiful edifice, an asset to the neighborhood (photo credit: a reader).

In a later post, Second City Cop points out that by blocking the parking lot, forcing parishioners out onto the streets where they were towed away, the police probably violated the law:

From our friend on the scene:

Chicago Police are currently blocking the entrance to the PRIVATE bank parking lot across the street from Elim Pentecostal Church, to prohibit members from parking their cars there for the 7 pm service. The Church has had a contractual right to use this parking lot for the last 18 years. The Police confirmed that Mayor HeavyHand has ordered them to do this, after her street parking ban backfired against her this morning.

The Police are now trespassing on private property and interfering with private contractual rights, not to mention grossly violating the Constitution. They are making our legal case better by the minute.

These measures taken by Mayor Lightfoot smack of fanaticism, a personal animus against religion.

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