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The power of prayer

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday October 22, 2005 06:10 PM

After posting an earlier comment about poor Freddy Ferrer's pro-forma New York mayoral campaign, I found myself trying to remember whether Freddy had ever found any issue on which to differentiate himelf from the Bloomberg administration. Finally I remembered one: the world-historical Pay to Pray fracas.

Sunday parking was always free in New York -- one of many outrageous subsidies to drivers, who constitute a minority of New Yorkers -- until 2002. In that year, a decree went forth from Mike Bloomberg to the effect that Sunday parking would henceforth cost as much as parking on Jehovah's six workdays. This is actually one of the very few constructive things Bloomie has done.

Enter the City Council, in defense of... religion. (I'll be back in just a sec, when this little paroxysm of laughter passes.)

--There, that's better. The Council, apprently concerned that our municipal government's hard-earned reputation for comprehensive idiocy might be marred by a single random act of good sense, passed a bill restoring the Sunday-parking SUV subsidy, and Bloomie vetoed it.

Well, there are no flies on Freddy Ferrer. He seen his opportunity, and he took it. No way could he disagree with Iron Mike on anything substantive. But Sunday parking, well, talk about a hot button.

So the most Christian knight Don Fernando saddled up Rocinante and rode forth against the Sunday parking rule, armed with the immortal phrase "pay to pray."

This is quite perfect, really. The Democrats would like to connect with "people of faith," or so we're told. Now there are lots of things that people of faith are supposed to be interested in -- feeding the hungry, for example, and setting the captive free. But those are a little problematic. Driving to church, though -- now there, if you like, is a twofer.

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