Mobile phones are next to Godliness

BTCellnet pays to mount transmitter in church spire

A country vicar has sparked outrage by considering renting out his church spire to BTCellnet as a transmitter site. The Rev. James Watson is all in favour of netting the £3000 per year rental to fund All Saints' Church in Braunston, Northants. This ecclesiastical entrepreneur, who carries a mobile phone in his cassock pocket, says that as long as people are not making calls to carry out the devil's work, he sees no harm in it. But locals are up in arms at the plans for the Victorian Grade Two listed building. According to today's Daily Telegraph, Daventry district council has rejected the idea, with one member deeming it "ungodly and offensive". "This is a place of worship," said local councillor Peter Burt. "It should not be tainted by outside influences. "It is the thin end of the wedge -– a step towards having advertisements on the walls and sponsors." BTCellnet plans to disguise the three six-foot aerials inside the spire of the church. The company plans to replace slates on the exterior with plastic to let the radio waves through. According to the Rev. Watson, the 15-year contract with BTCellnet would help subsidise the £30,000 a year upkeep costs of the exterior of the church, which was built in 1849. And the vicar is evangelical about his beliefs in cellular technology. "Mobile phones are an important tool," he said. "They provide people with instant communication and in cases of emergency they are absolutely vital. "So long as people don't make calls for immoral purposes, I can't see any problem with having the transmitter over the church. "Reception around here is poor and this is an example of the church doing its job and providing benefits for local people." ®

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