(ran PW PS editions of PASCO TIMES)
If the Rev. James Henderson has his way, the division of church and state in the tiny hamlet of Brooksville will be so narrow, a single Bible verse, "Love thy neighbor," would cover it.
Henderson and some 140 other residents of this unincorporated community in northern Alabama want to form a town, but not one in which mortal elected officials would have the power to hand out liquor licenses, levy taxes and rezone land for strip malls and industrial parks.
Instead, Henderson said, they want a town guided by the hand of God.
The King James Bible would be the town charter, the Ten Commandments, its ordinances.
The people who live here would look out for one another, would look in on the elderly, would watch for children in the crosswalk. They would not buy or sell alcohol or pornography. They would not steal.
They would vote _ every woman and man _ in the churches instead of a city hall, but there would probably not be many votes because the aim of the town would be to preserve the slow life that exists here, not mess it up with change, said those in favor of this Bible-based town.
Henderson, a self-described street preacher who was born in Brooksville 56 years ago, knows that he is describing what he considers an ideal community, an almost impossible utopia. But at least, he said, it would be a place founded on Christian ideals, on standards of common decency.
If there is any opposition to such a town, it has been silent, as Henderson and a small group of Brooksville residents go about collecting the signatures on a petition needed to put the decision of incorporation as a Bible-based town to a vote.
An election on incorporation may come as soon as February, said Hubert Porter, 62, an engineer and one of those who favor a Bible-based charter.
The proponents of a Bible-based town said the concept was not intended to exclude anyone but was a return to the spirit of this country's founding fathers.
"You can live with Christian principles anywhere in the world, and there's not a country in the world that has embraced freedom that has not embraced Christianity first," Porter said. "We're not trying to make anybody Baptist or Methodist. Just live by Christian principles."