Local residents of Belmont, North Carolina not only have to deal with a new proposed Wal-Mart supercenter, but also with a religious order of Monks that own the land Wal-Mart wants to “pray” upon. Here’s a report from the scene by local activists: “Our city council will vote on rezoning property, which is currently business campus, to commercial, and granting a special use permit to waive the size limit of 50,000 s.f. to build a supercenter at least 4 times larger. There is already a Wal-Mart supercenter only 8 minutes away. Belmont is an historic mill community that recently invested $1 million in upgrading its Main Street. Its regulating ordinance calls for careful development. What is an interesting twist in this case is that the Southern Society of Benedictines (the Monks of Belmot Abbey) are the petitioner and landowner. They are partnering with Wal-Mart for this development.”
Is it surprising that Monks, who theoretically focus on the inner, spiritual nature of things, would be covetous of making millions of dollars by selling land to a Wal-Mart — the consummate symbol of materialism? On Newsflash we have described a number of instances where local church groups have tried land wheeling and dealing with Wal-Mart to the horror of local townsfolk, who saw the coupling of church and Wal-Mart as downright sinful. But it should never come as a surprise what large sums of money will do to motivate even the most spiritually oriented. In this case, the Monks would do well to do a little bit more meditation and reflection on what their proposal will do to the good people who have been their neighbors for years. The Abbey should drop hands with Wal-Mart, and be guided by what’s right for the community, not what will thicken their pocketbook. For local contacts in Belmont: Erin Russell at [email protected] In the meantime, ora pro nobis.