You've got porn!

SophiaBelltowerChurches have leased space in their bell towers to cell-phone companies for several years now, but the Chicago Tribune reports on a new twist in that discussion: whether such towers would transmit pornographic signals:

Eugene Hales worries that a cell-phone antenna proposed for the roof of a Catholic community hall in Schaumburg will become a conduit for pornography sent and received by wireless customers.

So Hales and a few other like-minded parishioners at St. Matthew Catholic Church decided to do more than pray for guidance.

They raised moral objections, asking the Schaumburg Village Board to deny a permit.

With the high traffic in pornography on the Internet and the increasing use of cell phones to surf the Web, Hales and others are afraid that the antenna will become a vehicle for immoral material.

"Here is a facility put on your property, which is sacred ground, which is putting out, and being paid for, by everything that is blasphemous," said Hales, who testified at last month's Village Board meeting. The board postponed a vote, but the matter is back on the agenda Tuesday.

The Tribune keeps the story to an efficient 800 words, but staff reporter Liam Ford and freelance reporter Graydon Megan do a commendable job of finding the essential elements.

Perhaps the most surprising detail is that the Archdiocese of Chicago says this is the first time anyone has raised concerns about the content that would pass through the technology. Parish leaders favor the proposal, which would bring $20,000 into the parish's budget each year.

There's a poignant sadness that the concerns raised by Hales feel so quixotic in today's culture. Granted, just about any technology can be (and has been) used to distribute pornography, and porn is an undeniable fuel in the American economy. But Hales raises good questions about churches' stewardship of their properties.

Update, July 22: The New York Times has published this correction.

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