Pastor defies city's order
Inviting a confrontation with city officials, the pastor of a church in Long Beach, California, has vowed to defy a prosecutor's order that he stop allowing homeless people to sleep on the steps and grounds of his church.
to evict homeless from church grounds
"The city's threats are ludicrous. We're not going to do what they want us to do. Allowing these people to sleep on our property is, for us, a religious act," said Senior Pastor Jerald Stinson.
Stinson said the First Congregational Church, a Long Beach historic landmark with a history of social activism, has found legal support for its actions in a court ruling that allowed a New York City parish to shelter homeless people outdoors. In 2002, a federal appeals court upheld the right of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Midtown Manhattan to allow homeless people to sleep on its steps without fear of being rousted by police. The court determined that the church was helping the needy out of a religious belief and thus protected by the 1st Amendment.
Read the Los Angeles Times story here, and check out this post at Huffington Post, which also looks at how Ronald Reagan is in large part responsible for the current homeless situation. And don't miss Stinson's sermon about all this.