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D.C. Lets BeBar Be

When we last checked in on the row over BeBar, a gay-oriented bar that was trying to open on Ninth Street NW in the Shaw section of the District, a couple of local churches were trying to persuade city officials that Scripture required the District to refuse a liquor license to the bar owners.

But D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board used the quiet of mid-August to dispense a ruling that clears the way for BeBar to open, which the business intends to do with a private gathering tomorrow and public hours on Friday.

The bar plans to specialize in candy-themed martinis and margaritas, and according to the Washington Blade, the city's gay weekly, co-owner Mike Watson says the business will cater "toward a mixed crowd. We don't want to limit ourselves, but we do feel that our primary demographic will be gay men."

The city spurned efforts by Scripture Cathedral and its pastor, Bishop C.L. Long, to keep the bar out, supposedly on behalf of neighborhood children. But the Cathedral is not an immediate neighbor of the bar and most Cathedral members live out in the suburbs and only come in for Sunday services. And Shaw's changing population appears to welcome new businesses, whether they are oriented toward gays or anyone else. So BeBar has its license, which is more than the good folks at Vegetate can say. Vegetate is a vegetarian restaurant that opened down the block and has also been opposed by churches because it's...well, because it's new and represents a changing neighborhood.

Shiloh Baptist Church continues to agitate against Vegetate and Queen of Sheba, another Ninth Street eatery, simply because they want to serve wine with dinner. An election year may not be the moment to expect politicians to say No to the city's incongruously powerful churches, many of whose members have long since abandoned the District to move to suburbia, but at some point, elected officials will have to realize that the people who actually live in the city and pay taxes and vote deserve at least the same level of attention as institutions whose members walked out on the city years ago.

By Marc Fisher |  August 30, 2006; 7:19 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Hey now Marc, this is a slippery slope. First it's wine with dinner, then it's beer at the ball park, mimosas with brunch, who knows where it will end?

Posted by: Amen corner | August 30, 2006 9:46 AM

"who knows where it will end?"

The good Reverend taking a nip or two before the service! That's what will happen. Mark my word!

Posted by: Enjoying the Rain | August 30, 2006 9:58 AM

How can these churches hold so much sway over DC politicians if their members are mostly suburban residents???? Last time I checked, only DC residents could vote in DC elections. Can someone please explain this to me?!

Posted by: PennQuarterite | August 30, 2006 9:59 AM

As a tax-paying resident of DC, it makes me so angry when elected DC officials pay more heed to church goers than to DC residents. They need to start ticketing and towing all of the illegally parked cars with MD and VA plates near churches on Sunday mornings. I don't go to their neighborhoods and disrespect them.

Posted by: Brent | August 30, 2006 10:00 AM

Good. Maybe now DC can sort out the parking issue between residents and parishioners in Shaw.

Posted by: DirrtySW | August 30, 2006 3:17 PM

see me, hear me, touch me

Posted by: tommy | August 30, 2006 3:30 PM

"Vegetate is a vegetarian restaurant that opened down the block and has also been opposed by churches because it's...well, because it's new and represents a changing neighborhood."

No, no! Didn't you get the memo? God wants you to eat meat! Everyone knows the vegetarians killed Jesus!

Posted by: h3 | August 30, 2006 3:33 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with you on this on Marc. These churches left DC in all but name decades ago. Their claim that it's 'for the children' is laughable. How many of the children of these churchgoers live in the neighborhood? None. Or at best, very few. And how exactly are children harmed by adults in the neighborhood having a wine with their vegetarian meal, or going to a bar that, heaven forbid, caters to gay people?

Incidentally, these churches have NEVER protested a liquor license for any of the many liquor stores in this area. And those liquor stores actually are a hazard, both to kids and to the neighborhood as whole. They are magnets for crime, panhandling, and do a lot to entrap the entire block in poverty, crime, and general hell.

All three of these establishments (Be Bar and the two restaurants) seem to be legit, decent places that would actually add to the neighborhood and the DC tax base. To deny them liquor licenses would be mean-spirted, contrary to the wishes of the people that actually live in DC, and just plain silly.

It's worth pointing out that Shiloh Baptist pays no DC taxes. As a church they are tax exempt. So they are a drain on the city coffers, as we must still provide infrastructure, police and fire, etc., for them.

Perhaps I'd welcome their input more if they'd actually pay DC taxes. Of course, that may mean their Bishop will have to give up either his Bentley or one of his other luxury vehicles.

This whole thing would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Posted by: Hillman | August 30, 2006 3:43 PM

Gay bar in DC, who cares as long as they keep it safe. I've seen these (facts) gay bars some time turn into brothels for old gay men searching for young gay men...and then we have the HIV/AIDS concern.

Just don't turn into a brothel of disease, keep it clean!!!!

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 3:44 PM


That is very ignorant thing to write. It's almost...almost..not worth responding to.

1) Gay bars dont have any more older men hunting for young people than straight bars do.

2) HIV/AIDS is a large problem in the DC black community. Should we disallow hip hop and go-go bars because of that?

Get your head out of arse and wake up.

Posted by: Daniel | August 30, 2006 3:57 PM

I was very much enjoying the column and comments until I read the one by Frankey. I am a little confused on where these "facts" come from. Beyond that, the comment was rude, bigoted and hurtful. Gay bars are not dens of disease, they are bars. I guess you can somewhat generalized bars in general as being hot spots for promiscuity, but you can't honestly believe that gays are the only ones sleeping around. (granted gays don't have much of choice since they can't get married or have civil unions anyway). Come on Frankey, let's not attack Be Bar just because they are focusing on a gay clientele, let's focus on them for their "candy themed martinis." Surely, that is enough fodder for hours of disdainful comments.

Posted by: JPDVDC | August 30, 2006 3:58 PM

JPDVDC and Frankey sound like a hot couple.

Posted by: Tom | August 30, 2006 4:03 PM

I agree that Be Bar needs to be mocked for its intended "candy-themed martinis and margaritas" strategy. That's some funny stuff.

Posted by: Lindemann | August 30, 2006 4:12 PM

Come on, Daniel. I agree with you in spirit, but don't perpetuate the stereotype that all gay people are white.

Posted by: scott | August 30, 2006 4:13 PM

addendum to previous...and this might gotwithout saying...but also that all black people are straight.

Posted by: scott | August 30, 2006 4:15 PM

For those of you that want to try and insult me...go ahead.

I grew up in this city and have seen gay old men looking for young gay boys to have sex with...its a see this is where we have problems with the gay community, you don't want to admit to the underground world thats out there (also read the city paper in the gay section, admit it gay world, its there, but if you don't indulge, doesn't mean it can't be discussed)

Now, I can create a list right now of places in DC where some really foul things go on...(not from personal experience but I do have sources), for example I have women friends who are gay, and they are associated with gay men, so I am liberal in this perspective...anyhow I have learned a great many stories about gay establishments.

I'll give you a hint, and some of you may know of it already, but there is a place on 14th St. NW, has the face of a gym, but you have to be buzzed in and down in some basement room there are some activities that would not be considered an excercise workout but personal pleasure.

It's a fact men and go in and out of this establishment with no intention of working out.

Now, as I've said...keep it safe. I don't see this as an isult, but as a concern.

Get over it and get over yourself (there's nothing to be embarassed's just a gay way, brothels are real and you're not)

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:17 PM haven't addressed the real point here. That's that straight people do all those same things.

There's straight places where men and women go strictly to have sex too and there's also bars just for that type of interaction. Straights been doing it for thousands of years. Just like gay people.

It also doesn't appear that anyone insulted you...but disagreed with you.

Posted by: sws | August 30, 2006 4:18 PM

I wasn't speaking of BEBAR as just a gay bar, but if it was catering to gay men, then please be safe.

thats it thats all, where is this insulted bull coming from, get real, being gay don't make you no virgin.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:19 PM


I think you need to spend a little less time at the Crew Club (the "gym" you describe) and a little more time in reality.

Or get out of Dupont/Logan every now and then. There is much more to being gay than the bar scene.

Posted by: Daniel | August 30, 2006 4:23 PM


I have no trouble admitting that there are establishments called bathhouses in which anoymous sex between consenting gay men occurs, but that is not what we are talking about here. Be Bar is not a bathhouse anymore than the Front Page or Hawk & Dove.

I apologize if I insulted you by my comments, but they are true. You, by your own admission, have no concept of gay life except through friends of friends. Bathhouses do exist, but they are certainly not the beginning nor the end of being gay. In fact, I have never been to one and it surprises me a little that you know the exact address of one.

Moving on to older men preying on younger men. Again, I think the concept you are missing is consent. How do you know it isnt the younger men "preying" on older men because they are simply attracted to them? In this context, I would probably use the word "persue" rather than "prey" as it seems to be the same sort of activity that goes on between straight members of both sexes.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 4:25 PM

To Daniel, no thank you.

Being gay is a very hard thing for me to understand, however I have genuine respect for gay people.

And, I don't like pretending so sorry nothing will convince me otherwise.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:27 PM

To Daniel, no thank you.

Being gay is a very hard thing for me to understand, however I have genuine respect for gay people.

And, I don't like pretending so sorry nothing will convince me otherwise.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:31 PM

Actually, if any of you know of Kathy Henderson running for Ward 5, came to my home and asked if i would sign a petition against the gay bar, and i said no because i didn't that was a good enough reason "gay bar" to deny them a chance of having a business that will pay city taxes.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:34 PM

hmmm, well, let's be fair here to Frankey.

there are gay people who prey on one another, just like straight people. gays ain't angels anymore than straights are and they are subject to the same sexual violence and intimidation issues.

Posted by: sws | August 30, 2006 4:34 PM

really? a ward 5 candidate was circulating a petition for a bar opening up in ward 1?

Wow, that's some passionate bigotry on her part.

Posted by: sws | August 30, 2006 4:36 PM


If you don't understand being gay, then maybe you shouldn't be making broad generalizations about us.

Or do us a favor and keep your ignorance to yourself.

Posted by: Daniel | August 30, 2006 4:36 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:36 PM

Marc's article is about legit businesses that happens to want to locate in an area near a church. It's not about fudge-packing brothels. Stay on the subject, Frankey!

Posted by: Whew! | August 30, 2006 4:42 PM

Gentrification vs. Scripture Cathedral. That's a tough match because even though the church has historical and financial ties to the city, the new residents will be the decision makers because they are the new voters. I just hope that the Shaw area will retain some of it's Black Historical Values. I would hate to see all of it get replaced with Condo's and starbucks.

Posted by: hogboss | August 30, 2006 4:42 PM

Gentrification vs. Scripture Cathedral. That's a tough match because even though the church has historical and financial ties to the city, the new residents will be the decision makers because they are the new voters. I just hope that the Shaw area will retain some of it's Black Historical Values. I would hate to see all of it get replaced with Condo's and starbucks.

Posted by: hogboss | August 30, 2006 4:42 PM

I'm just wondering if any of the church-goers are gay/lesbian or if any of them drinks wine with dinner. But I guess that's a different story for a different day.........

Posted by: Whew! | August 30, 2006 4:47 PM


You said you didn't get it, not me. And my point is that "gay bar" does not automatically equate to "bathhouse."
Most gay bars aren't any different than any other straight bar. In fact, in this city, your straight bars are crawling with gays, too. So you better "be safe", Frankey!!

Posted by: Daniel | August 30, 2006 4:52 PM

Did you all notice how this blog was closed until the article about Church and Politics was posted? Whats up with that Marc?

Posted by: hoggboss | August 30, 2006 4:53 PM

To Daniel:

Gay's are as "human" as Straight, so telling me I don't get it, you must be a fool and walk with blinders.

Its a Gay Bar, can you handle that, or are you one of those sensitive people where it shouldn't be discussed, well my friend stop pretending.

Anyway, I was again saying, be safe.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:55 PM

Just for mention, I will visit Be Bar, for a few drinks and check it out, thats it, thats all, with gay "friends".

Can you say that?

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 4:57 PM

I can say that I will visit, but again, mostly to snicker snidely at the mike and ike flavored martinis.

Posted by: JPDVDC | August 30, 2006 4:59 PM

Like I said, Frankey and JPDVDC would make a hot couple.

Posted by: Tom | August 30, 2006 5:01 PM

I'm not sure he is my type- how old is he? If he doesnt have a cane or walker, he's out.

Posted by: JPDVDC | August 30, 2006 5:04 PM

To Tom, you've been at the "Crew" haven't you?

I bet you're one of those gays that seek out people for personal pleasure.

Be safe Tom, be safe.

Posted by: Frankey | August 30, 2006 5:06 PM

Hey! cut this stuff out!

back to the original topic: Marc thank you for posting this. I fully agree that it is high time dc politicians stop bending over for the churches and I was very encouraged to read the article about their waning influence. As a resident in a neighborhood invaded by churches large and small, I am very frustrated when they operate outside the law with regard to parking, tax exemption, vacant buildings, sucking up real estate; and then pack ABC hearings with 50 homophobic church ladies from MD & a pastor decked out in pimp gear. enough!

Posted by: shawres | August 30, 2006 5:28 PM

Frankey and JR Rees--could they be one and the same? After awhile people ignored Rees and his comments and he found new haunts. Maybe we should try it here.

Posted by: Rees 2 | August 30, 2006 5:31 PM

Question, this blog was closed earlier today and now it's open; how often does that happen and why? Also, I will never understand the complaint churches have against a bar, gay or not, or restaurants serving alcohol near churches or schools. How does this harm children? Bars are open mostly in the evenings and even if during the day, I still don't see the harm to kids, or a neighborhood, or a church's sensibilities. I, by the way, am a Christian.

Posted by: wpost36 | August 30, 2006 5:40 PM

Why is everyone so upset with Frankey? He made 2 legit points. One, trolling daddies are gross, and two, be safe. Of course HIV/AIDS is a concern for straights, too. But we're talking about Be Bar here and Be Bar is a gay bar. Are we so thin-skinned that we'll attack him for this? I hope not, or we really are a bunch of sissies.

Posted by: B | August 30, 2006 5:41 PM

Relax, folks. I found the same problem getting into the comment boards earlier today, brought it to the attention of the Masters of Things Technical and they fixed it right up and here we are. Sometimes things break because they break, not because of conspiracies.

Posted by: Fisher | August 30, 2006 6:07 PM

Gaybar or not, welcome BeBar. Is about time those Churches started respecting their community, regardless of race/creed/sexual orientation.

Posted by: Phil | August 30, 2006 6:18 PM

I say "who cares" about BeBar being gay or vegitate being vegetarian. The leaders of these places were used to being a fourth pillar of DC government and, even though their parishoners up and absconded from the neighborhood, the pastors still seem to feel the right to continue dictating what goes on here.

I've got a couple of ideas: Why don't the churches sell the beautiful buildings and property they own at what I'm sure would be an even more beautiful profit, and start new churches wherever their parishoners live? Alternately, maybe they could try to reach out to their new neighbors. Whatever way they choose, it's obvious that if they want to continue as places of worship they'll need to better ground themselves.

Posted by: Mark | August 30, 2006 7:52 PM

Mark raises a valid question - why don't some of the DC churches sell their buildings and move to where their actual congregations live?

Some of these massive buildings would get multi millions of dollars at sale.

You could buy an equally splendid building in the 'burbs and still have several million left over to actually feed the hungry, give toward AIDS relief in Africa, etc. You know, like Christ actually commanded His followers to do.

The reason they don't - it's a power and prestige thing. A downtown DC church is a prestige thing for a lot of these pastors. And it's an ego trip for them - to have the Council and political leaders of the Nation's Capital bowing and scraping before you is quite the ego booster.

And most suburban entities won't kiss your butt just because you build a big church in their jurisdiction.

Last, it really is a race thing. Certainly not all of these parishioners are racist. I'm certain many of them are wonderful people (albeit easily led). But a ton of the rhetoric from their pastors certainly is quite racist and stunningly homophobic. These pastors just hate to 'lose' to the white man. Especially if the white man is gay.

Posted by: Hillman | August 30, 2006 8:33 PM


It might be interesting to investigate how many of the abandoned buildings in Shaw are owned by churches. I've heard various accounts that a large chunk of the abandoned storefronts on 9th St are owned by a church. No verification, just rumors that I would be curious to see are true or not.

I do know for a fact that the Archdiocese of St. Louis is the largest slumlord in my own hometown.

Posted by: Chris | August 30, 2006 8:33 PM

The churches own a ton of abandoned property and dont pay taxes on it in many cases. The assessment records are totally public.

Posted by: shawres | August 30, 2006 9:29 PM

I suppose we should thank you Marc for once again showing DC exactly who is moving into the city and what their concerns are. Perhaps Daniel Snyder can find enough developable space to build them a DC branch of Epcot, and provide them an urban experience that fits their vision of city life. It would spare them the indignity of having to deal with people unlike themselves and insure a good return on the investments they bought, rather than homes they purchased. The bright spot in a softening real estate market is that those who made investments instead of buying homes get hurt.

Posted by: CW | August 30, 2006 10:00 PM

Thank you very much for raising the Church issue, Mark. Every Sunday, our neighborhood (off of Lincoln Park) is swarmed with illegally parked cars, each with a "church parking" sign on the dash. It's absurd, not to mention dangerous. Hopefully the MPD will begin to do something about these traffic hazards before someone is seriously injured trying to turn on to a street and having their view blocked by illegally parked cars.
Either way, our neighborhood is fed up with the situation, and have been calling MPD each week about it.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | August 31, 2006 8:05 AM

when some of us raised the issue of illegal parking by churchgoers (mostly with Maryland tags) to a group of MPD officers at a community meeting, the responses ranged from "would you rather I ticketed them than someone downtown protesting" to "I'll never ticket someone who's in church since I'm a minister on the side." What that tells me is that the church culture is so ingrained in the local populace that even the police think that churchgoers have a right to break the law.

Posted by: ralph | August 31, 2006 11:43 AM

Churches with "financial" ties to the district? The best government your Sunday donations can buy.

Posted by: James Buchanan | August 31, 2006 12:46 PM

OK, I have to comment on a few things.

First, I'm not entirely sure how a story on the influence of churches on local ABC boards and politicians ended up turning into a rant on promiscuous gay lifestyles and HIV/AIDS. Yes, its a problem, but in my opinion, if in your head you see gay bar = sexual predators = spread of HIV/AIDS. That just seems rather small-minded to me. I'm straight, and admittedly don't agree with the gay lifestyle, but I'm also the last to pretend that I have any moral authority to judge anyone. Straight people in bars are just as likely to be promiscuous, and EVERYONE should "keep it safe", gay or straight.

Second (now that I'm done with that rant), I live across the street from a church, and many a times my car's been blocked in by double-parking churchgoers. When you call a tow truck, all you get is "we don't tow churchgoers." My personal view is that, as a resident and taxpayer of D.C., I should be able to get in my car parked on a D.C. street and leave as I see fit, and not have to worry about being blocked in by a row of MD cars. I completely agree...step up enforcement and quit giving churches free passes to break the laws. Otherwise, I say all D.C. residents start posting "church parking" signs in our windshields and park anywhere we wish anytime.

Posted by: Daniel B. | August 31, 2006 12:55 PM

I always wanted to print some flyers to stick under the wipers of churchgoer cars parked in No Parking Anytime spaces (which was the main issue in our neighborhood) saying, "The sign says No Parking Anytime. Are you blind, illiterate or just plain inconsiderate?" Variations on that theme might work for double-parked vehicles too.

Posted by: ralph | August 31, 2006 1:46 PM

Perhaps those of you who live near churches in DC should start flattening tires on Sunday mornings. It won't unblock your own cars, but, I'm sure those Chrysler 300 & pimped-out BMW tires will get pretty expensive after a while.....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 1:58 PM

Oh come on. Let the churchgoers park on Sunday. Unless their blatantly blocking traffic or someone into a parking spot then it's of no consequence to the locals. They just going to church.

They could do a better job at outreaching to their neighbors though. That whole parking scandal and this whole bar issue could have easily been averted if the leadership of those churches hadn't been as self-righteous as the new local residents.

Posted by: sws | August 31, 2006 2:14 PM

Your the biggest hipocrite on this site and you still don't get it.

Gay Snob, have you ever volunteered at a clinic for HIV/AIDS victims? I have and again I careful to gays.

Your culture is still a carrier and have to maintain safety in the spreading of the disease.

However, you say Church, its not the Church its the religion we are talking about the church is using its people to protest this Gay Bar, but the bottom line its religion that states Men and Women are not to indulge in sexual behavior because God has written it is a "great sin".

Now go figure Daniel, BLOGS are for ranting and of course we have freedom of speech.

So if you don't want to face the reality of this discussion go away.

Posted by: Frankey | August 31, 2006 2:19 PM

The me society!

For years these folks have been neatly parking in the street to go and pray for the world and people want to just throw them out.

This is a really cruel city, when it comes to poor vs. rich, black vs. white etc.

Posted by: Frankey | August 31, 2006 2:26 PM

Yea, the poor neighbors loses out to the rich church.

Posted by: Fact | August 31, 2006 2:35 PM

"Your culture is still a carrier?" Excuse me? Last I checked, HIV and AIDS didn't discriminate on whose bits you most enjoyed playing with. How arrogant and judgmental for you to assume that simply because this is a gay bar, it needs your sanctimonious warning. Why don't you take your message over to Adams Morgan, Clarendon, Georgetown, or any of the neighborhoods where the straights are engaging in behavior that could spread HIV? Oh yeah, because they're straight and people engaging in God's chosen form of coitus don't spread HIV. Silly me. And when you decide to head on down to BeBar and have a few drinks with your gay friends (some of my best friends are gay!), I hope your candy-flavored martini washes some of that self-righteousness out of you.

Posted by: What? | August 31, 2006 2:42 PM

To What....

Thank you for your comments...and wish you the best and don't forget to use a condom.


Posted by: Frankey | August 31, 2006 2:56 PM

sws - I guess god says going to church makes breaking the law perfectly ok?

Posted by: shawres | August 31, 2006 3:47 PM

To Shawres, God didn't write the laws, selfish, selfless men like you did.

Posted by: Frankey | August 31, 2006 4:33 PM

now I wonder who's being selfish if I double park wherever I dang well please and block in one or more cars legally parked. Is the owner of the blocked-in car the selfish one for wanting to get out, or is it me for blocking it in, all because I'm too lazy or self-important to walk from a legal spot. I think I know the answer but I'm curious to know what those yelling selfish selfish think. And it doesn't make a hill of beans difference whether the double parker is going to church, to the club or to the grocery store. The end result is the same.

Posted by: ralph | August 31, 2006 5:37 PM

Relax, Wake me up before you Go-Go to BE BAR .

Posted by: Frankie | August 31, 2006 5:38 PM

People are selfish for blocking in other people's cars. If someone were to park in front of their driveway or block their car in, they would be the first to call the police or a tow truck.

And Frankey, do you even have a job?

Posted by: Fact | August 31, 2006 6:17 PM

I have been a DC resident living in the Shaw community for a long time. I do understand the concerns about MD residents who only attend church in the District having more say than someone who is actually a resident but I what really diappoints me about our local government is the total disregard for those of us that have been here long before any of these newly built condos and new businesses or even new residents of the District. Don't get me wrong I am all for bringing revenue into the city and revitalizing neighborhoods that are in need but it's just disgusting how a city that was once predominantly black and it now changing at a drastic rate was not thought of until a certain race of people decided they wanted to make DC their home. I think these new restaurants that serve alcohol should not be in a close proximity to churches or schools. It's bad enough what we have to endure already not to have a bunch of lushes in our neighborhood.

Posted by: Vicky | September 1, 2006 9:08 AM


So what is your point about Blacks and HIV. Statistics say a lot things but are they truly accurate? Please don't open your mouth about Blacks and what they are especially if you aren't; you wouldn't even begin to know our reality.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 9:30 AM

Frankey, "God" didn't write the Bible. Shouldn't you know that.

Vicky, You must be joking. No restaurants near churches or schools because the people who patronize them are lushes? That is one of the most ridiculous statements I've heard yet. So let me get this straight - you would prefer that the needs of those who have lived in the District for a long time take precedence over those who have just moved to the District? Sounds like you are advocating having two classes of citizens, while at the same time complaining about what you percieve to be the same.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | September 1, 2006 9:40 AM

Those of you that are making this foolish statements about churches moving to where there members live is totally ludicrous. How do you know where these people live? So what if these churches are in the neighborhoods those of you that have such negative comments about them maybe you should try attending church. From the comments I have seen apparently you all don't reside in the neighborhood where you attend church either, if you do go at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 9:41 AM

This comment is to Rudy and Blitz or whatever you are. No, that is not my point that old residents concerns take precedence over new residents but I am saying that at one time you rarely if at all saw a white person in the Shaw neighborhood and now all those who once had an opportunity to live here cannot afford to. It's truly the Major has been used to move in all those that are of another color and have no regard for long time residents who were here and would like to stay here but can no longer afford to. Something needs to be done to stop this maddness.

Posted by: Vicky | September 1, 2006 9:53 AM

I don't necessarily agree with the churches opposition to the BeBar. However, CHURCHES are part of the HISTORY of this city. NO MATTER how much you protest, it will NEVER cease. Understand that no matter what the gentrifiers say, history is history. Somethings will never change-- example: racism.
Read some of the history of DC...there are tons of books our there.

Posted by: DC longtimer | September 1, 2006 10:03 AM

So Vicky, not seeing white people in Shaw was a good thing, and white people moving to DC constitutes madness? Come on. Not everyone who has just moved to Washington is some kind of evil gentrifier who has no regard for other citizens.

To bring back the original point, what I don't love is the fact that on Sunday mornings illegal parking is rampant in my neighborhood. Churchgoers or not, this illegal parking should be stopped before someone is injured because of decreased visibility on the road. I think placing flyers on the windshields of cars parked illegally that inform them that if the cars are not moved, the police will be notified; would be a good place to start.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | September 1, 2006 11:17 AM

Interesting discussion, with the sidebar on homosexuals and HIV ignored. At our church in NW, the suburbanites foot the bill to run the daycare center that is used by neighborhood people, keep the lights running for the AAA and NA meetings, feed the poor once a month, provide clothing for the monthly (and more often used) clothing closet, provide parties for our and neighborhood children, donate supplies to the local schools, pay for the vans for senior citizen transportation, buy new school clothes for the children of church members who live in the area, etc., etc., etc. There is a clear dichotomy; the majority of the people who tithe or give substantial offerings are suburbanites (not all, but more than 80%). Those who receive the benefit of the funds are people who live in the immediate area who need assistance. That is find; that is what God intended. If you have largesse, it wasn't given to you for yourself, but to help others.

If I go to church during the week, I am there for 3 or 4 hours. On Sundays, the church opens for breakfast at 8 (they feed several regulars who cannot pay for the meal; the suburban tithers cover that) and may not close until after 7 p.m. if there is a program. There has never been an outcry about a parking problem until the new, and almost 99% white, people started moving into the neighborhood in the last year. Because the church works in the community, they were approachable by people with complaints, and some steps were taken to mitigate problems.

Without exception, the newbies who have shown up to service decided they lasted too long for them (fair), or they don't attend service. We have a stated habit of speaking to everyone on the street, and we go out into the neighborhood to invite people to special events. They don't come. However, the newbies have agitated so that we can be ticketed if we stay at church more than 2 hours on a weekday or a Saturday. There are no activities at our church on a Saturday, except maybe a choir rehearsal, that only takes 2 hours. And that building is open almost every day of the week.

Yes, about 60% of the congregation is made up of people raised in DC who grew up at this church and don't want to leave their spiritual home. Yes, I know most of you don't understand that. But tell me this, how many of you are going to keep the day care going, feed people weekly, clothe them regularly, provide for addiction services, and provide events for the local children? From what I can see, and granted, I only have my eyes to see with, the new people are more interested in walking their dogs and jogging in short-shorts. When the black church is finally chased out of the city, as so many of you seem to want, who will take over the services?

Posted by: NW Church | September 1, 2006 12:53 PM

I think too many people on here have completely missed the point, and that is: The Law is the Law, irrespective of who or what you are. Whether a resident of the community or a church-goer coming in from the MD burbs; whether a new establishment that wants to serve wine with dinner or fruity martinis until closing or an established church - all are obligated to follow the law. Let's dispense with diversions of whether the bar caters to gays or if that church-going double-parked car blocking you in has MD plates, the take-away from this is this: The bar and the restaurants should be granted the permits they seek if they have properly met the requirements set by the city. At the same time, church-goers (and it shouldn't matter whether they are church-goers or not) should not violate parking restrictions by double-parking or parking in restricted areas. That's the law and really people, it IS that simple.

Posted by: corbett | September 1, 2006 2:12 PM

Yes, the law is the law...and we compromise with what the law is all the time. If we're going to compromise with anyone, let it be people who want to park at church.

Yes, the churches in these neighborhoods can be a bit self-righteous about these things, BeBar is a perfect for instance, but so are the residents.

I'd rather see my police force bothering with bigger, more dangerous crimes, contributing to community development and adding to the fabric of DC culture and safety...not wasting their time giving parking tickets to inconsiderate churchgoers, who admittedly have very few options.

Posted by: sws | September 1, 2006 3:34 PM

"I'd rather see my police force bothering with bigger, more dangerous crimes, contributing to community development and adding to the fabric of DC culture and safety"

On a Sunday morning? The criminals are sleeping in at this hour.

Posted by: Park Legally | September 1, 2006 9:02 PM

I find many White gays to be just as racist as White America. White gays never discuss the racism against black gays. Many black gays are not allow or asked for several ID's, before entering a white gay establishment. In most gay magazines, the men are mostly white blond blue eyed. I don't care if this Bar is allowed in a mostly black area, as long as they admit black gays into this establishment. I would like to hear these mean spirit white gay boys discuss racism within the gay community for a change.

Posted by: Native Black Gay D.C. Voter | September 2, 2006 12:49 AM

"However, the newbies have agitated so that we can be ticketed if we stay at church more than 2 hours on a weekday or a Saturday."

NW Church, by "newbies", I presume you mean residents of the neighborhood where your church is located. E.g., those people whose tax dollars, and automobile registrations entitle them to park in their neighborhood. If anything, it sounds like your church has gotten a pretty good deal - you can park illegally, but only for two hours? Most people would say that's overly generous.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | September 3, 2006 6:26 PM

Rudy and Blitz,
You probably won't see this, but no, we are not parking illegally during the week, or on the weekends. The double-parking happened on Sundays. Now that there is back-in diagonal parking from 7 to 3 on Sundays, the only Sunday problem is caused by the church having the nerve to have Sunday afternoon programs.

What happens during the week is that tickets are given if you are not a resident parking before 8:30 p.m Monday trhough Saturday. You may only be in the area for two hours.

Now answer the question. Are you two, Rudy and Blitz, going to pick up the neighborhood services that the suburbanites are financing, manning and deliverin to the local community?

Posted by: NW Church | September 5, 2006 2:11 PM

if we want to protect the 'hoods we need to close the Catholic churches to keep the pedaphile priests off our children.!!!

Posted by: miked | September 5, 2006 6:40 PM

Well, NW Church, you just don't get it. The issue is not the services that the church (not your church, per se, but churches in general) provide to the community, but the manner in which parishoners use the neighborhood. No one is saying that "suburbanites" can't come into the city to worship, and "newbies" (your, derogatory term) have to take on all responsibility. What we DC residents are saying is simply this: park legally, or not at all. Carpool or take metro. Don't abuse parking in neighborhoods that we "newbies" pay our income and property taxes (the church pays neither) to support. Don't clog the streets with illegally parked cars on the weekends and create safety issues and expect no reprocussions. If we can reach a happy medium here, we can reach one anywhere.

By the way, what happens during the week with zoned parking is the same way across the entire city. Why do you feel entitled to park longer, and that to recieve a ticket for exceeding the limit is unfair?

If it's a tithe you want, please post the address of your church and I will gladly send a donation.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | September 6, 2006 8:12 AM

No, you don't get it, and never will.

Posted by: NW Church | September 6, 2006 2:37 PM

If you are willing to respond to questions phrased in a civil manner, I'm all ears. Perhaps your refusal to do so is because you are losing this discussion badly, NW Church?

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | September 6, 2006 4:53 PM

NW Church:

It's a pretty safe bet that the massive tax break that churches get more than offsets whatever they give out in terms of homeless assistance, etc.

Churches get a huge free ride in that they are tax exempt. But they are using city services - like police, fire, roads and infrastructure, etc.

That one block that Scripture Cathedral takes up could generate hundreds of thousands a year in property tax and other revenue for DC. Instead, it's a tax exempt church, serving a Maryland congregation, paying no taxes.

And, frankly, a lot of the 'services' that you claim to be provided are services you'd much rather be doing in DC than in your own neighborhood so that those you are providing services for stay in DC and don't come pester you in the 'burbs.

Who is it that constantly feeds the bums in the parks? It's suburbanites, not DC residents. Ever wonder why? Because us DC residents are sick of those same bums breaking into our cars and defecating in our yards, then ponying up for all their free stuff being handed out to them in parks and such.

And some (but not all) of these services are actually detrimental to the neighborhood and often to those served. Turns out that proving neighborhood feeding services to alcoholics and street people encourages them to remain exactly where they are - living in parks, stealing from residents, committing crimes, then showing up on church doorsteps demanding food and other items.

Posted by: Hillman | September 6, 2006 5:12 PM

NW Church:

If I get the gist of your argument, since you give out free stuff to the homeless, etc., that entitles you to park as you please.

Is that basically it?

If so, how much must I give? Is $10 a month to the homeless guy in my park enough?

If I give enough, can I then stop paying taxes, like churches do?

But, then, I've already given $10. Maybe it wasn't technically a gift, as it was at the point of a gun, when I was held up by several local individuals that police told me later were known 'homeless'.

Posted by: Hillman | September 6, 2006 5:43 PM


Where has your concern for having drunks in your neighborhood over the last 30 years, when corner liquor store licenses were handed out over and over again in Shaw, with very little objection, and certainly no organized objection from the churches.

Why is it that your concern suddenly surfaces when it's a white-owned business like BeBar, or when it's a business owned by non-native blacks that are going to cater to all residents, not just blacks?

As for 'lushes in the neighborhood', please..... having tipsy gay boys or vegetarians in the area is going to do more harm than the armed thugs that are there now, being readily supplied with all the liquor they want from the corner liquor stores?

Posted by: Hillman | September 6, 2006 5:47 PM

Sorry to pile on, NW Church, but I'm on a roll here......

You seem to think that since you are giving out stuff in the neighborhood that entitles you to break DC laws.

And you've clearly established yourself on a higher moral plane than the rest of us, what with all your giving and helping the homeless and all.

Then why don't you just go whole hog and actually give it all? After all, it's God's money, isn't it? Why not sell the huge church on the grossly overpriced land and give all those millions to the needy?

You could buy one incredible homeless shelter with ALL the things they need (actual monitoring 24 hours a day, real drug interdiction, etc.) in your own neighborhood in Maryland for probably 1/5th of what you'd get for selling your church land in DC.

And you'd still have plenty of money left over to build yourself yet another huge vanity project church to replace the one you left in DC.

Plus, you'd actually be doing what Christ commanded - helping others. Instead of spending your resources stopping vegetarian restaurants and gay bars.

Posted by: Hillman | September 6, 2006 6:59 PM

I find many of these comments to be racist by you WHITE GAY SISSIES. As a District native born in D.C. resident, I have lived in the city all my life. Maryland or Virginia taxpayers have no right to park and block D.C. residents in at anytime of the day. Former D.C. residents decided to move out of the District. There are plenty of churches in Maryland to attend. Being born here, but no longer living here doesn't give you the right to break D.C. laws. I agree, the black church has been the backbone of the black community, but the majority of these churches members are not D.C. voters or taxpayers. Unfortunately, I have to agree with these racist gay white boys. As a gay black man, I can tell you how black gay and lesbians are discriminated in the gay community by white gays. Many times, we are denied entry into gay white establishments, or we are asked for several I.D.s to enter. When you look at gay magazines, you would think, the gay community is all white. White folks whether they are gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, Conservative, or Liberal are all raised from the same stock in WHITE AMERICA. I WANT TO HEAR SOMEONE DISCUSS GAY WHITE RACISM ON HERE against gay people of color, or black gays

Posted by: DC Black Gay Native | September 6, 2006 11:37 PM

DC Black Gay Native:

Sissies? Now that just ain't nice.

I'm a gay white man. I happen to like a lot of gay black men, especially the attractive ones.....

I go to only one gay bar in DC, so I can only speak of my experience there.

I'm carded every time I go to the Eagle even though I know nearly all the staff there personally. Everyone is. They have very strict rules there (in large part because everyone assumes the city wants them to leave that prime real estate and will use any liquor law infraction to get them out).

I have seen people denied entry for not having proper footwear (they don't allow flipflops, etc.). But I see that rule applied uniformly, to everyone.

I can't speak to your experience in other gay bars, but I've never seen even the slightest hint of racism at the Eagle, either in their carding policy or in the staff or patrons.

Posted by: Hillman | September 7, 2006 9:17 AM

of course we gays are highly divided. probably more so than straights, which is a shame.

But you know, we got to deal with it in the right way, DC Black Gay...

Luckily there's plenty of groups addressing that type of thing...there's that black and white men together group, queers for economic justice, the amnesty gay group.

there are better way to create change than ranting on a wapo blog. Maybe i should follow my own advice.

Posted by: sws | September 8, 2006 10:45 AM

NW Church,

What church are you representing? What is your stance on the churches that have jammed up ABC licenses for small business in Shaw? Just curious if you go to Shiloh or Scripture Cathedral and if so do you support their stance on the protests that have happened in the Shaw community? I just don't understand any of this and I would love to hear your opinion/stance.

Posted by: Confused | September 8, 2006 11:25 AM


Since you are a long time Shaw resident and seem "genuinely" concerned about your community, where were you when the liquor stores at 9th & P and 10th and RI Avenue were opening up? Or where were you when the Giant on 9th Street applied for its ABC license to sell beer and wine? Oh yeah, since all of these places are closer to the elementary schools, recreation centers and churches how can you justify that? You mean to tell me liquor stores and grocery stores that children actually can go into and be exposed to booze and tobacco are better for Shaw than sit down restaurants?
The same liquor stores that sell to drunks all day long no matter how inebriated they are?

Oh yeah...where were you when the Giants ABC license was up for renewal last December or when the liquor store at 9th & P was up for renewal a few months back? You were probably down at 941 N. Capitol Street at an ABRA hearing trying to jam up Be Bar, Vegetate or Queen of Sheeba.

Stop being a hypocrite and use come common sense. If you really care about Shaw you should be supporting business coming into the neighborhood. I guess you just want more liquor stores and carryouts right?

I am glad Be Bar survived and got their license. Cheers!

Posted by: Shaw | September 8, 2006 11:39 AM

sws racism against black gays by white gays has been going on for years. I am 51 years old, and I remember not being asked for ID's to get in the Lost and Found, The Pier, etc. back in the seventies. Whites were never asked for ID's. Queer as Folk on Showtime featured only white gays. I guess black gays are invisible. On mostly your gay magazines are blond blue eyed men. In the gay community, beauty is seen as been white, blond hair, blue eyes, and a yuppie. I find white gays to be some as racist as mainstream WHITE AMERICA. Black gay men have to deal with racism in society, and then we have to deal with it from white gays. Being black and gay in society isn't easy.

Posted by: DC Black Gay Native | September 8, 2006 3:45 PM

Correction: I remember being asked for ID's to get into mostly white bars, and white gays weren't asked for ID's. I just hope the BeBar don't discriminate against black gay men!!!!! I drove thru DuPont Circle last night, and all the white boys were walking around like, they didn't have a care in the world. As a black gay man, I don't feel this way, because being black and gay in society is very difficult for black gay men, and when these white preppy gay men discriminate as their white heterosexual counterparts, it hurts!!!!!

Posted by: DC Black Native | September 8, 2006 4:02 PM

DC Black Native:

The cover of Metro Weekly this week is a black woman. The Washington Blade, uber liberal rag that it is, constantly features black gay issues. As does Metro Weekly.

On Logo there's an entire show about black gay men - Noah's Arc.

As for gay porn mags..... if your complaint is that gay porn mags have white models, I think your idea of racism is a bit skewed. It's a money thing. Porn mags are going to have white models because most of their customers are white and people do tend to date and even fantasize within their own race.

On the flip side, all you need to do is the simplest of internet searches to find hundreds of sites dedicated to black men.

While I do frequent pretty much only the Eagle, I've been involved in gay social circles in DC for a decade. I've never seen racism. I've seen blacks, white, Asians, Arabs, etc., etc., mingle quite well. I have seen some cattiness toward lesbians.

As for your preoccupation with being carded.... perhaps you weren't carded back in the 70s because you were young and cute, and we all know the young and cute ones get away with more. And times have changed. The gay bars are now much more careful with carding then they ever used to be in the past, as the city gentrifies and gay bars become flashpoints in certain neighborhoods (ironically, that's in part because of the racism shown by black churches toward gay bars..... they often assume all gay people are white).

So stop painting the entire gay culture as racist. It isn't.

Posted by: Hillman | September 9, 2006 8:44 AM

Wow thank goodness we have folks who made it thru Kindergarten and have a PhD to guide us. I am not challenged just not uptight like so many of you. Folks get up off your high horses.
I guess iI missed the name calling part. I may need to go back to school and get a PhD.

Posted by: Angela | September 13, 2006 4:11 PM

let's just get rid of the churches!

Posted by: antirepublican | October 1, 2006 6:59 PM

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