Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jacksonville homeless feeding ordinance
challenged in federal court

If Jesus came to Jacksonville to feed the masses, he would need a city permit to hand out all those miraculous loaves and fishes.

A University of North Florida professor hopes to change that with a religious freedom lawsuit he filed after he was charged with violating a city ordinance* when he fed homeless people on church property.

Though the charges eventually were dropped, Michael J. Herkov said it was important to challenge the ordinance so a basic tenet of his Christian faith could continue to be carried out by him and others.

Herkov's attorney, Scott Fortune, said the law is so broadly worded that it could be construed to prevent anyone in Jacksonville from giving someone else a cup of coffee or serving a meal at home without a permit.

Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal advocacy organization based in Orlando, said he has handled similar cases for other religious groups, and the courts have found a clear constitutional right to carry out church ministries, such as feeding homeless people.

Read the Florida Times-Union article here.

Thanks to Religion Clause for the link.
* You can read the ordinance here. Read Section 250.101 and the next few sections.


At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms Dowd,

I am looking to get ahold of someone in your area who works as an advocate or activist for the rights of the poor. I'm interested in bringing the Poor Peoples Union model to other areas and it seems like yours is one in need of solidarity and a voice for those who are poor and houseless.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Rob Richards
Poor Peoples Union
OlySkunks Chapter

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Michael Hussey said...

The music on that first link leaves much to be desired.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

So what would you like to hear next time? Jazz? Rap? Classic rock? I'm kinda partial to the blues myself.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Homeless said...

This approach has been tried in other cities and most of the time it fails. The homeless problem will never be solved in herding the homeless out of cities, rather it's a one to one exchange of enablers helping a homeless person one at a time.


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