I saw a meme on Facebook, and I wanted to address it full on, since some Scrooges have been annoying me.
I’ve often heard this argument: “Why don’t Christians feed and shelter the homeless? Isn’t that what JESUS wants you to do?” And it’s a question worth probing, because I often see things that anger me here.
Unfortunately, when Christians try and help those in need, like the homeless, we often get attacked and shamed for doing it. Snobby remarks about how we’re enabling homelessness or forcing those who come to a church-run soup kitchen to attend a service. People scoffing at the thought of helping others out.
Then there are the true Scrooge’s in government, mostly local, who pass laws that ban churches from trying to aid those who need help the most. And it’s especially a Scrooge move to enforce said laws during the Christmas season. These people force fines onto churches and congregations who would dare give the homeless a nice warm meal or a place to rest.
Take a church in a suburb of Baltimore, MD for example. This happened just recently:
“I showed up Wednesday morning to find a citation on the door that said we’re going to be fined $12,000 and have a court date because we have unhoused homeless people sleeping outside the church at night,” Reverend Katie Grover of the Patapsco United Methodist Church told ABC 2.
The church has a court date scheduled for December 21 for the code violation, which entails homeless men, women and children sleeping outside the church doors because they feel safe there and have nowhere else to go.
The a citation received by the church was for operating a “non-permitted rooming and boarding house,” but Grover pushed back against that notion stating, “They’re not paying me rent or paying us rent to board here, so I don’t know how that is defined.”
A fine of $12,000 and a Court Hearing are quite a lot, especially for such a non-trivial thing, or at least that is what this should be. But, some grinch, also known as the neighbor, decided that the Church shouldn’t be doing that, since:
“We have a greenhouse and we sell flowers and shrubbery, and the homeless started camping right next to our retail sales area,” says Bartko.
He alleges that the homeless killed one of his trees, by urinating on it, so he called the county to complain.
“They dump gallons of urine on it,” Bartko said.
“I want them moved out of here,” he continued. “The county and state has facilities for homeless people. They shouldn’t be here living like this.”
Ah yes, just send them off to state and county facilities. That’s the solution! Yes yes, bravo old chap!
While there may be 2 homeless shelters in the local Dundalk, MD area, the rest are all scattered off in Baltimore. And let us not forget that the reason why some of the people haven’t gone to a shelter is because they feel that the church provides them with better safety and security. Homeless shelters, such as those in NYC, often house people in need of serious professional help who don’t have access to it. As well, they often serve as a place for predators to prey upon people who are in hard times, often women and children, and still also men too.
Bartko can say all he wants that these people should just get sent to a shelter, but that fixes no issue. His troubles are not with the church, but with the person(s) who killed his tree, but he has decided to take his anger out on the church.
And why is it that it should be the job of the government to help homeless people out? Government wasn’t created to be a babysitter. It was created to protect our natural rights. That nanny thinking is expressly NOT what the government is supposed to do, and by believing that line, people in government will monopolize power and “aid” into their greedy little hands, often giving the contracts for such aid to their friends in exchange for some kickbacks. Meanwhile, people are out on the streets, starving and cold. Often this care is very low-standard, and like I mentioned earlier, not safe in any way. But people don’t seem to care about that. As long as the homeless are off their streets, they couldn’t care less how they’re treated.
Now, I want to touch on one more thing. This happened 2 years ago now, but I find it to still be relevant. Also, it’s not too far from me. Remember when the 90-year old guy and 2 pastors got arrested in Ft. Lauderdale for feeding the homeless?:
A 90-year-old man and two South Florida ministers have been accused of breaking a new ordinance that severely restricts public feeding of the homeless in Fort Lauderdale.
Police arrested homeless advocate Arnold Abbot and ministers Dwayne Black and Mark Sims on Sunday as they handed out food to homeless people in a Fort Lauderdale park. The city ordinance took effect Friday.
“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” Abbott told South Florida television station WPLG. “It’s man’s inhumanity to man is all it is.”
All three face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Abbott runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor, Inc. He said he sued the city in 1999 after they tried to stop him from feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach. He won that case and now says he’ll fight the new ordinance.
What is truly funny about some of these ordinances is that they’re dressed up to supposedly “help” the homeless. The Ft. Lauderdale one requires a permit, permission by the property owners the event is being held on, and working toilets and sinks. How cute is this little gesture?
Abbott has experience fighting and striking down these kinds of things, and justice was (somewhat) served when a Judge stepped in and order the city to stop enforcing the law. But, this doesn’t mean the law is gone. It’s still on the books, and lawsuits by Abbott and other groups who were helping feed the homeless are working their way through the courts.
Private citizens give their time, their efforts, their resources to feed, shelter, and aid the homeless. It is big-government fanatics looking to grab more control and power who pass resolutions and ordinances like these banning aid.
Maybe it’s time to step back for a second, and just let people help people for once. I don’t get why churches, congregations, or regular organizations helping the homeless is a bad thing. It’s time to stop this madness, and just let these organizations do what they want to do. Let them feed and shelter the homeless. It’s no one’s business to say that they cannot do such a thing.