Liability, schmiability

I have heard some response to my column about saving old churches. Everybody says, yes, they should be saved, but who will pay the liability insurance? I have asked in return, how much is the liability insurance on a closed church? All I have heard in response is that it is horrible. Horrible.

I can't imagine that the liability insurance for a closed church would be any more than for an open one. Nobody's going up and down the stairs! Nobody will be struggling to get down the basement on a bad hip. The building will be locked. Are they afraid some drunks are going to try to climb the steeple? Just what is the fear?

The fear of getting sued is often brought up as an excuse to destroy old things. In fact, one local church sawed down nearly all the trees in their cemetery because, and I kid you not, the trees might fall over on somebody and we'll get sued! Well, what about all the old buildings, many of them falling over, on private property? And there are trees everywhere! Should we saw them all down to avoid them falling on anybody?

I would like to hear if there has been so much as one country church congregation sued for something which happened in or around a closed building. I doubt it. I asked the cemetery people--have you ever heard of somebody having a tree fall on them in a cemetery and suing? The response: We don't want to be the first.

Some people just watch too much TV and think everywhere in the world is as crazy as California. Even if the concern over liability is legitimate, there is bound to be some way around it. Dissolve the congregation. Turn the church building over to a non-profit which has no funds. Lock it up good so nobody can get in. Take the chance.