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The Chicago Reader reports on a phenomenon going on in the city: illegal church parking.
There’s a whole back story about how the parking situation is hurting the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF), which had some great uses for the roads in questions.
But here’s the part that involves the churches…

… signs make it clear that no parking is allowed at any time in the fast inside lanes of the boulevards—not for churchgoers or anybody else. But on Sunday those signs are blatantly ignored and the righthand lanes are clogged with parked cars. “Basically, they’re parking illegally,” says Alderman [Rey] Colon. “I call it the pray-and-park policy. It’s a courtesy that is provided to the churches, sort of informally. I’ve been here since ’67 and it’s always been in place, and I’m not gonna be the one to break the cycle.”

A pastor at Armitage Baptist Church (whose visitors violate the parking laws) has this to say:

Antonio Gomez knows his parishioners aren’t parking legally on the boulevards, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. “Sometimes we get ticketed and we go to the police station and we explain we’re from the church, and they say, ‘It’s OK, just give us the tickets back,’” he said. “I don’t know if you can call it fair or not fair. We as a church are very involved in the community. It’s just an agreement that we have.”

An illegal, unwritten agreement.
And as the alderman hints at, it would be political suicide to go against the church on this matter.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Chicago Reader, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, Rey Colon, Armitage Baptist Church, Antonio Gomez[/tags]