The high cost of going to church…

Well, it seems that the Office of Homeland Security has been defending us from religious fanatics to the north one Sunday at a time. A Mr. Richard Albert has been fined $10,000 for crossing the border from Maine (where he is a resident) into Canada to go to church on Sundays. Apparently the checkpoint at this location is un-staffed at nights (9:00pm to 6:00am) and on Sundays, oh but they have surveillance cameras.

Albert’s house, where he lives alone, is just 30 yards from the border, right beside the U.S. Customs office. He has been crossing the U.S.-Canada border at his own discretion for more than 40 years, he said in an interview on Tuesday.

In mid-January, he received two $5,000 fines from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection for crossing the Quebec border into Maine twice on a Sunday, a day when the local border station is closed.

I know that as an atheist you would not expect me to have much to say in defense of a man who is fined for going to church, but I think that the basic problem here is one of fairness. If you are going to demand that people submit to checkpoints then those checkpoints need to be manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Life does not stop at 9:00pm and begin again at 6:00am, it does not skip Sundays.

And more to the point what good is an unmanned checkpoint? If Osama decided to sneak into the US at 10:00pm Saturday night you can then watch it happening at 6:00am Monday on the surveillance tapes, but then what? You can’t fine him since he does not have an address here and I imagine that he might be able to do some damage in 32 hours. If you can’t be bothered to show enough interest in a checkpoint to keep it fully staffed at all times then drop the pretense that you are trying to defend our borders and quit fining a citizen or two that might want to go to a store, visit family, or yes, even attend church.

You know what would have kept Mr. Albert from breaking the law to go to church? One guy manning the checkpoint. Is it that much to ask?

7 thoughts on “The high cost of going to church…

  1. What a bunch of crap.  I can’t believe they except the people in this town to go 200 miles out of their way to cross the border.  I can’t believe the fine is $5000.  I’m with you, with the idea that anyone who is really crossing outside the “hours of operations” with evil intent, certainly are not going to give a flying fuck about the fine.
    I am again amazed at how stupid our government and the DHS in particular are.

  2. 1.  Well, yeah, if the border can be penetrated that easily (oooooh! on video!), then, yeah, it’s not very secure.  That’s generally a problem with the US/Canada border.

    2.  Putting some guy on the border crossing probably makes some sense in this case.

    On the other hand:

    3.  It is an international border.  Expecting unrestricted crossings is probably not reasonable, certainly not any more.

    4.  Not only did the guy know that the crossings were no longer going to be allowed, he’d heard from other neighbors that they’d been threatened with arrest, and chose to cross over anyway because he hadn’t been “notified officially.”  Plus there’s been a locked gate since 11/03 (that he somehow bypassed, though that’s not spelled out in the story).  So the story that he was just casually driving across the border when he was suddenly zapped out of the blue with fines is a bit disingenuous.

  3. What great positive publicity could be generated if they exercised dscretion and waived the stupid fine, then idealists like me could go back to dreaming of the day (it is the 21st century after all) when national borders no longer exist.

  4. This is just too ironic. But I have to disagree with Les.

    The guy knew what he was doing was wrong. He should have complained first to the authority and got an exception, not just kept doing it. Just because a law is silly, doesn’t keep it from being the law. The state has a duty to enforce the law. The border has to be somewhere.

    I have no problem at all with the government closing some (or even all) of the borders whenever they want. Cities used to close the gates (albeit 500 years ago) at Sunset and Sundays. This is the US border, if it’s inefficient to pay people to man the whole thing all the time, then I’d rather it was closed. Remember, these are your tax dollars at work. Do you really want to pay someone a federal salary and benefits so that one or two folks can go to church in another country? It’s not like it’s random. I do wish that closing it meant actually closing it. If some guy headed to church on Sunday has no problem bypassing it, certainly our enemies don’t either.

    Personally, it bothers me that some guy claiming to be going about his Christian duty, decides to publicly follow one part of the Bible and ignore another. It

  5. Um, disagree with me? Why for? I don’t recall even contributing to this thread. The original entry was written by Eric.

  6. Sir Les Jenkins;
    I like your site very much.  Keep up the good
    work.  I liked Ann Colter, but she is in some
    kind of bliss, the President’s agenda is
    destroying America. 

    Thank you for your hard work, research.

    Borgetta

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