Torched, Union Thugs Suspected
It was probably back in 1997, though some think it might have been even earlier, when the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting concluded that it had outgrown its space and that it was high time to erect a new building. But because it is not the Quaker way to rush into things, the group spent a few more years reflecting on whether it should buy land on Mermaid Lane for the new meetinghouse.
Even after the group sealed the deal in 2003, there was still plenty more talking and thinking and praying to be done about the undertaking. There was a "dialogue session" to articulate the group's "touchstone values," then, a year later, a workshop with a facilitator, and, finally - just to be certain - a retreat for members.
As agonizing as the process was, the result is a trim little design, faced in traditional Wissahickon schist, that will visibly reflect the ideals Quakers hold dear, from respect for the environment to plain old good neighborliness. And yet, in one crucial way, the $5.8 million project now under construction is also a frank acknowledgment of real-world conditions: To afford Philadelphia's first new Quaker meetinghouse in 80 years, the Chestnut Hill Friends felt their only option was to employ a nonunion contractor.
And now they are paying the price.
Four days before Christmas, the Friends' world was rocked by the sort of violence they have devoted their lives to stamping out.
Vandals with an acetylene torch crept onto the project's muddy construction site in the middle of the night. Working out of view in the meetinghouse's freshly cemented basement, they sliced off dozens of bolts securing the bare steel columns and set fire to the building crane, causing $500,000 in damage.
Police detectives deemed the attack arson because of a series of confrontational visits from union officials days before the incident. They say the torch could only have been operated by a trained professional, and believe it was almost certainly the work of disgruntled union members. The city has assigned extra investigators to the case and is working with federal forensic experts to track down the vandals, said Michael Resnick, the city's public safety commissioner.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/05/2013
Editor's Note: Another example of why unions suck...We mean, really, Quakers? Union thugs target Quakers???
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