Homeless People and Cats
The City of Houston wants to regulate feeding the homeless—to make it a crime for anyone to feed the homeless without registering with the city and jumping through a bunch of other hoops (PDF of proposed ordinance).
In a lively online discussion among criminal-defense lawyers, Laurie Payne (not a CDL; I’ve no idea how she wandered into the discussion) interjected:
I TOTALLY SUPPORT SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE AND THE CITY OF HOUSTON’S MOVE TO DISCONTINUE THESE AD HOC “FEEDING” PROGRAMS THAT DO NOT ADHERE TO ANY RULES OR HEALTH CODE NOT TO MENTION PROPER SANITATION OR PERMITS. ARE THE HOMELESS NOT THE PUBLIC, TOO? “DO-GOODERS” DO NO GOOD WHEN THEY ARE ENDANGERING THE PUBLIC, HOMELESS OR NOT, BY USING PUBLIC PARK LAND, CITY PROPERTY, AND PRIVATE LAND, WITHOUT PERMISSION OR FACILITIES TO “SERVE” THE HOMELESS. THIS IS WHY GOVERNMENT DOES NEED TO CONTROL GROUPS THAT ARE SELF APPOINTED SOCIAL PROGRAMS THAT HAVE NO REGARD OR TRAINING TO SERVE THE PUBLIC, MUCH LESS THE UNFORTUNATE PUBLIC! PLAY BY THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULES NOT THE RULES THAT YOU JUST “MADE UP” TO RAISE MONEY FOR YOUR “SOCIAL PROGRAMS”. IF YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL PROGRAMS, DO THE QUALIFYING FOR THE GRANTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO LEGITIMATE ORGANIZATIONS! LAURIE C. PAYNE Fourth Generation Native Houstonian and Christian
Here in the Heights we have a stray-cat problem, which goodhearted people aggravate by feeding the strays so that the neighborhood can support an unlimited population. Downtown residents can’t trap the homeless and take them to animal control, so they have to deal in other ways with the consequences of suburban do-gooders feeding the homeless. The homeless, having little to lose, are hard to punish, so the downtowners went to the city to ask for a new ordinance punishing those who feed them.
Though I don’t think it’s the proper subject of government regulation, I sorta sympathize. (It’s illegal to feed stray cats if you don’t get them neutered, but this doesn’t matter to the kindhearted dolts.)
But when you make a public issue of your “Christianity” in the name of the government regulating those who would feed the poor, you’re painting a great big rhetorical bullseye on your back.
15 And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a desert place, which may be public park land, or city property, or private land, and the time is now past. We have no permits, nor have we proper sanitation. Send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages and get themselves victuals from the government-controlled social programs. For are they not the public too?” 16 But Jesus, rather than playing by the long-established rules, said unto them, “They need not depart. Give ye them to eat.” 17 And they said unto Him, “We have here but five loaves and two fishes, and we have not qualified for the grants that are available to legitimate organizations.” 18 And He said, “Bring them hither to Me.” 19 And the Do-Gooder commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves and the two fishes; and looking up to Heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude, all without government grant or permit. 20 And they all ate and were filled. And they took up the fragments that remained, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
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