Mass. Hunters, Churchgoers Vie for Beach Use

A Maryland church service on a public beach was recently "interrupted" by goose hunters.

From this story on WBZTV.com:

_Imagine the surprise of some churchgoers who gathered for a beachside service this weekend only to hear gun shots fired on the beach. Apparently some hunters had secured permission from the state to kill geese there. "It was certainly disturbing for the kids, just after I told them how much God loves them," says Father Tim Schenck. Schenck is the Reverend at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hingham.

__"Every month I try to take a service outside of the building," he explains. That's why some 40 people gathered at Bathing Beach Saturday evening. "All of a sudden after the service is done, we hear the shots ringing out. One goose was wounded, fell into the water, and just kind of swam away and then drowned." Turns out there are so many geese in Massachusetts the state has given hunters the go-ahead to shoot geese in certain areas, including beaches, during certain times of the year.

"Under Massachusetts general laws, it was OK," explains Hingham Police Lt. Michael Peraino. But three days after the incident, public outrage prompted Hingham police to dust off the town's bylaws and take a closer look at them. They discovered a law making it illegal to hunt on any town property. Now Hingham police are patrolling the beach, telling hunters they cannot fire guns there anymore.

They hope their newly-discovered law trumps the state's hunting laws. "I'll be interested to see if anyone challenges that," says Schenck, who was happy to hear that police were changing their approach. He is still hoping for a statewide ban on hunting at all public beaches._

Well, far be it from me to disagree with a man of the cloth, but perhaps the good father should reconsider where he holds his church services rather than trying to prevent others from utilizing a public resource in a perfectly legal manner?

From my admittedly heathen perspective, it sounds like the goose hunters were "interrupted" by an ill-advised church service, not the other way around.

Your thoughts?