Caesar Forbids Charity to do Works of Mercy

Caesar Forbids Charity to do Works of Mercy January 23, 2013

Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. So stop feeding the homeless, Christians.

Here is what Christians should say to Seattle Caesar: “We must obey God rather than men. Drop dead.” Then we should set to work subverting this stupid rule at every opportunity.

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  • I’m not sure that this particular story amounts to Caesar interrupting a Christian group’s exercise of a Corporal Work of Mercy. It seems Seattle has only placed a restriction on where this work may be performed. That’s quite mild and could well be reasonable. Now, it may be that this restriction is overly burdensome on the charity, but there’s no reason to believe that’s the case and quite a bit that would suggest its obviously not (the story does say that the meals were only distributed at the park once a month). Perhaps there is more to this than appears in the story, but based on what I’ve read this seems to be a legitimate act of government.

    • Michelle

      It’s not the Christian group that’s impacted by the restriction, it’s the homeless people who have to find a way to get to the city’s chosen distribution point. The Christian group was taking food to where the homeless people actually are, rather than expect homeless people to migrate across the city (bus, hitchhiking, walking?) to get to the food.

      • If the distribution of food to the hungry necessarily had to take place at that park, rather than their distribution point, then I would submit that this is a poor and ineffective charity, since they apparently only care enough about the hungry in question to feed them but once a month.

        • Michelle

          If you would please read the article again, you would see that this distribution is in addition to food services the group holds regularly on their premises: “The offering was in addition to the three meals a day they serve inside their building at 97 South Main Street. ” In other words, this group realized they were not helping as many people as they could, so they went out into “the highways and byways” once per month to assist people who might not be able to come to them. Just because they can’t do the park distribution every day does not negate the value of the once per month service they were able to provide … at least until the city decided it had nothing better to do than to harass a Christian group for feeding homeless people food not on an “approved list” in a place not approved by the city.

  • Thomas Tucker

    We certainly don’t want starving people to eat something that’s not nutritious. Better that they should starve than ingest too many trans fats, don’t you think?
    That way of thinking is just so pathetically bureaucratic.

    • Is there something wrong with wanting to ensure the homeless have healthy foods to eat? It sounds like a noble endeavor to me. What’s wrong with allowing a local government to coordinate the works of charities to provide wholesome foods and allow multiple charities to literally get the most bang for their buck? Zoom out just a little more on this situation and you can see that by ensuring the homeless, whose primary source of healthcare is the ER, are eating healthy foods, than perhaps it will help them stay… healthy? Or they could get sick more often and got to the ER and we already know how much we love Obamacare and getting to pay for more people on Medicaid. Coordinating these kinds of services for the homeless also helps provide a good venue for providing other needed services (flu shots, por ejemplo). What if somebody had a severe food allergy and didn’t realize something contained that food? This kind of coordination helps keep people healthy, safe and is fundamentally good stewardship of a lot of municipal and charitable resources.

  • I would note that there is no actual statement that these christians facilitated chaos and litter in the park or created any unsafe or unsightly condition that is reasonable to regulate, though the article hints heavily at it. This could be to journalistic hackery, laziness, or outright malice but I can’t tell which form of malpractice is being done from this distance.

    It is reasonable for Caesar to say clean up after your corporal work of mercy and don’t create dangerous conditions (crowd control issues for example). This article doesn’t sound reasonable, but the journalism is poor enough that I would be hesitant to draw real conclusions.

  • Mark R

    Homelessness is a chronic problem in that part of town…there is plenty of loitering space. The situation could be worse if they were hungry.

  • Loud

    Parks are places for resting and relaxing, the sabbath for resting and relaxing. Coincidence? I think not. Have you seen todays reading? I think Mark has.

  • Alias Clio

    Ha. That reminds of a famous quip made by a Jansenist supporter, when French Jansenists were ordered by the Crown to stop going into convulsions when they felt the Divine presence touch them: “De par le roi, defense a Dieu/De faire miracles en ce lieu”, which means, “by order of the king, God is forbidden to perform miracles upon this spot.” This was written by an anonymous wag upon the door of the church in or near which some of the incidents of convulsion had taken place, I believe.

  • Balin

    Old saying again proves true: Once the bureaucracy gets involved it’s only the bureaucracy that matters.

  • This isn’t about not feeding the homeless, but trying to better coordinate the efforts to meet their needs. They raise a valid point about the safety of the volunteers. The other option is for the municple taxes to be raised to offset the liability of having people serving food on city property (the park) without oversight and the costs of having to de-litter the park more. This seems like a fine example of how government and charities can work together to meet the needs of the poor.