Who knew that purple paint can stir such emotion in Middleburg?
In case you missed it, the Resurrection Christian Life Center painted its new church deep purple.
As a local news item, you’d have to admit that there’s not much to it.
But the “story” has run in the Florida Times-Union, Clay Today, and the Clay County Leader as well as run on our public radio station WJCT, the local Fox station Fox30, and Action News Jax, CBS station WTEV.
Why on earth does anybody care?
Here’s What’s Happpened
A white church has been painted purple to bring the interior décor outside.
A man who lives in a nearby neighborhood has called the paint job “visual terrorism.”
The church’s pastor, Jonathan Bryant, and the congregation of Resurrection Christian Life Center (a non-denominational church) countered the “visual terrorism” comment with “purple is the color of royalty.”
When asked for a kinda sorta official ruling, the Clay County Board of Commissioners has assured everyone interested enough to listen that it’s not against any regulation or law to paint a church (or any building) purple.
What no one has mentioned is that Pastor Bryant and his congregation are black.
Welcome To Middleburg RCLC!
As it turns out, Resurrection Christian Life Center has just moved from Orange Park to Middleburg.
No sooner has the paint dried on their purple church than their neighbors have complained to the city and the county board of commissioners in writing and offered to pay for paint to “fix” the bad paint job.
Apparently, purple paint lowers property values and attracts the wrong sort to Middleburg.
Not that Middleburg can’t use the tourist dollars.
Lots of people have driven by to see what all the fuss is about. They need to buy gas and eat, too.
No word yet on what Middleburg’s most famous citizen Slim Whitman may think about the Purple Church controversy, but there’s plenty of time for him to weigh in.
Non-Denominational Is Royalty-Free
Even the man who made the “visual terrorism” remark, we hope, understands why it might have irked people.
Equally irksome is the “purple is the color of royalty” comment.
Although the discussion has some darker overtones, so far it hasn’t amounted to much more than “Our church is not [ugly]!”
At Least In The More Mainstream Media
In the blogosphere, however, religious and other folk haven’t been as well behaved. The discourse on BaptistBoard.com, for example, hasn’t been very high-minded at all.
Having been raised in the South where purple churches (and houses) are not uncommon, Your Examiner is not suggesting that racism either overt or implied has reared its ugly head.
Nor is she racist for observing that the man who objected to the paint job and the County Commissioner to whom he addressed his letter are white.
Perhaps it’s only painful political correctness that has kept certain salient facts out of the press.
Perhaps it’s just that the local reporters don’t view the story through old stereotypes.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org