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San Diego Democrats resoundingly rejected Morris Cerullo's plans to build a Bible-themed resort after complaints from an LGBT spokesperson that the resort would trigger traffic concerns.
Even the mainstream media is coming to the evangelist's defense.
In an editorial, The San Diego Union Tribune editorial board writes:
But at Monday's City Council meeting, all five Democrats—David Alvarez, Barbara Bry, Myrtle Cole, Georgette Gomez and Chris Ward—voted against the project after a spokeswoman for the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest and other critics who aren't engineers cited traffic fears.
Republican council members Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf pointed to the project's religious theme and the televangelist behind it to warn their colleagues about a wrong decision. "We may have disagreements with the applicant, but if they follow the rules and the law, we can't, nor should we, find against them," Sherman said. He's exactly right.
The best news out of Monday's meeting was the council's agreement to take up the matter again on Oct. 17. That gives the council's Democrats four weeks to decide whether they want San Diego City Hall to become the latest front in the country's culture wars. Their reassessment should include an opinion from the city attorney's office about the consequences of denying permits in a case like this.
SDUT reports city planners say the resort will not add significantly more traffic than usual, and it should not be a notable concern.
"We do know there is an undercurrent of anti-religious sentiments and those voices tend to be loud when it comes to the political process. While those in favor of a project may be in vast numbers, if they do not make their voices heard, then those against are the only one's heard," said Jim Penner, executive director of the Legacy Center. "Ephesians 6:12 is our constant reminder as we walk through life. It's what allows us to love unconditionally because we understand who the true enemy is. In a project such as Legacy, we have just walked a 5-year journey completing the technical studies required by the city and state laws, a long drawn-out process that ultimately leads to unanimous approvals by both local planning boards and San Diego's Planning Commission. It is now before the City Council for final approval, and this is where it becomes a political process more than a technical exercise. Ephesians 6 is our reminder that darkness does not want light, and we should expect the unexpected. The good news is we know that Jesus Christ is our rock, our fortress and our deliverer, and in Him we trust."
Cerullo's $160 million retreat was slated to open in 2019. According to a statement, the project was designed by the noted San Diego architectural firm of Carrier Johnson Plus Culture in conjunction with Dr. Morris Cerullo, the center's patron. The 18-acre hotel complex will offer spa services and luxury accommodations to the public. Its event center, fully-equipped with a lecture and performing arts hall, a 500-seat theater and a restaurant with catering services, will allow visiting groups and the local community to hold receptions and special events.
The Legacy International Center will also function as a compelling tourist attraction, immersing hotel guests into biblical and international-themed exhibits. A massive digital globe, installed at the heart of the Welcome Center, will display the geopolitical and religious composition of each country, while the history dome—a 100-motion seat visual experience with a 57-foot dome ceiling—will transport guests through an aerial journey of Israel and the Bible story. The center will also include a state-of-the-art teaching and training facility for local and remote training, the statement continues.
"Prayer is the key. If God be for us, who can be against us? I've certainly witnessed in my years in ministry that no great breakthrough ever happened without conflict. Throughout Scripture, conflict created the circumstances where God's glory could be revealed. I believe that to be true now more than ever. So we are praying throughout this process that God's glory is magnified and revealed. We are believing that God will have the last word, and it will be good," Penner says.
Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor's family in Alabama, she attended Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She's passionate about sharing God's goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.
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