Church steeples, because of their height and key in-city locations, are bringing churches $25K, $50K and more yearly from telecom companies for cellphone arrays.
“Next time you pass a church, look up and take a closer look at its steeple,” says DCG Real Estate, which helps churches to market themselves to telecoms. “There’s a reasonably good chance it’s a cell tower.”
Not only are church steeples desirable locations for the telecoms, but the churches, mosques and temples appear eager to buttress their incomes in a way that involves little effort and no cost.
Early church architects, according to Religious Product News, “designed grand cathedrals and churches that had intricate, soaring steeples. The vertical lines of the steeple helped to visually enhance the lines of the church, directing the viewers' eyes vertically to the heavens.”
Churches Mum; WHB Church Has Cell Tower
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Synagogues contacted by this reporter and EMF health advocates across the nation mostly would not return calls and emails on the subject. Not returning an email was Joseph Zwilling, PR head, Archdiocese of New York. A few individual cases of cell towers in spires were confirmed.
We learned that St. Marks Episcopal Church on Main st., West Hampton Beach, has leased its spire to telecoms. Rector Michael Ralph said the companies involved are AT&T and T-Mobile. He would not give the cost of the contracts nor length.
Our next stop was measuring, with an Acoustimeter, the radiation being emitted from the spire as we stood across the street. It was near the top of the danger zone—measuring No. 14 on a scale that went from No. 1 (0.02 volts per meter) to No. 15 (6.00 volts). No. 14 was 4.5 volts per meter.
We also visited the Westhampton Country Club across the street. Most rooms were below the danger level but one was at that level. Club officers and staff should hire one of the many services that check EMF.
Foster Raps Cell Towers in Churches, Synagogues
Susan Foster, medical researcher who has helped firefighters block cell towers on firehouses, said “Churches, synagogues and mosques are playing with the lives of people and not doing their research.
“For the time it takes to read Corinthians, they could delve into the research in the BioInitiative Report rather than taking the word of a telecom salesperson who gets them to sign a 20-year lease without any liability coverage in case parishioners or neighbors become ill. Ministers, priests, rabbis and mullahs are putting the financial reserves of their churches at risk, but most importantly, they are risking the lives and well-being of the flock they are charged with taking care of.”
"Children at church schools are especially at risk," she said. "They are bathed in powerful radiation up to eight hours a day, five days a week. Shame on the churches for ignoring the science.”
President Ronald Reagan crippled EMF research when he defunded the wireless radiation research arm of the Environmental Protection Agency in the early 1980s, she said.
More Stations Needed for 4G and 5G
The new 4G and 5G cellphone antennas work over much shorter distances than earlier antennas. Hundreds of thousands of new transmitting stations will be needed, and churches are a prime target of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and the other telecoms. Church steeples have been sought as stations since the early 1990s, said California Watch, which merged with revealnews.org.
There are 350,000 religious facilities in the U.S.—314,000 Protestant and Christian; 24,000 Catholic, and 12,000 mosques, temples and non-Christian.
DCG dismisses EMF health claims in two sentences midway through a 1,073-word release. “Many people still fear that cellular towers pose a health hazard because the equipment emits levels of radiation. Although there’s little evidence to support claims that cellular towers are dangerous, it is a common fear.”
Colorado Parishioners Stopped Celltower
Residents of Fort Collins, Colo., in March 2016 blocked installation of a six-panel cell tower in the spire of the LifePointe Church. Residents said, “Like more than 100,000 times since 2004, a major cellular carrier once again was pushing for greater cell coverage for their network. While the approval process for new cell towers has come to be a slam dunk in the US, this time things would be different.
The installation was blocked.
At issue were the potential health impacts from the cell tower’s close proximity to a residential community and Lesher Middle School, which lay 150 yards west of the church. Meanwhile, residents had uncovered more than 6,000 studies showing harm from electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
All this coupled with the emergence of new science emboldened the community to speak out.
Local media reported: “In the weeks leading up to the community meeting, Heather Lahdenpera had worked tirelessly to first alert the community of the impending decision, and then catalyze broad engagement across more than one-third of the residents nearby. What makes this so spectacular is that few communities have acted with so much passion and resolve since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 took away the rights of citizens to challenge the siting of a cell tower based on health concerns.”