The State vs. Works of Mercy

As the state continues to metastasize, one of the things it does is horn in on private initiatives to care for the poor.  A reader writes:

I volunteer down here in Houston for an organization that has for years worked to get sandwiches out to they guys waiting for jobs during the day. (The sandwiches are lovingly made by local parishes) Yesterday, I got pulled over by a cop for doing just this. Apparently, a law just passed requiring a permit to give out food. One of the properties near one of our stops complained about us being out there. The cop was the biggest jerk I’ve seen in a long time. He said something like “I don’t have a problem with what you’re doing, but you need to spread the word of God somewhere else,” ( I was wearing my ‘This is my Catholic shirt’) He threatened to arrest me if I was seen on the property again. Anyway, I was reminded of the story of the woman who was arrested in Pennsylvania for handing out food. It seems laws that make it hard to be charitable are cropping up all over the country.

Yeah, Bloomberg has done this too.  Is this happening elsewhere?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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  • tz

    When asked to bring the treasures of the church, St. Lawrence brought the poor and infirm. He was roasted for it. These days the Bishops give it up willingly. We need to demand our treasure back.

  • Esther

    There was something similar over here a while back.

  • Dave Pawlak

    I wonder if a court challenge would do any good…but I know Bloomberg is arrogant enough to pull an Andy Jackson if the ruling doesn’t go his way…

  • Ted Seeber

    In Portland, this winter, many winter part-time homeless shelters aren’t opening because they couldn’t get permission to from the city. Several contractors have responded to expand the number of beds at shelters that have long held permits to begin with; but we’ve lost about 250 beds and added only 123 so far.

  • Heather Price

    Let me get this straight. If these good people in Houston continue to perform these Corporal Works of Mercy, they need a permit from Caesar. Once they get the permit, they’ll have to violate *other* tenets of the Faith by providing through a “health” plan procedures and drugs that violate their faith. (I’m presuming they’ve been operating under the radar and/or with volunteers before now.)
    *thinks for a moment*
    It really is a battle of the Church against Caesar, isn’t it?

  • Michaelus

    Ever try suggesting that the guys who come into the shelter might help cook? Do some repairs? Unload food donations from trucks? In our local shelters this is strictly prohibited due to “health regulations” and “liability concerns”.

  • tz

    Who ever thought giving a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus would be an act of civil disobedience.

  • Here’s an article on the law:
    Unfortunately, it’s impossible from the article to figure out if this is a Democrat or Republican initiative. A quick search says the mayor (who apparently pushed this through) is a Dem. What was the balance on the Council when this passed? Did it cause anybody’s defeat?

  • BobRN

    The spread of statism, pure and simple. The only reason for laws like this is to decrease the impact of the Church and other non-government institutions and make every area of every life dependant on the state.