Just what the holy living hell is going on in North Carolina? Some issues are just not political in nature — and feeding the homeless should be one of those issues. I’m not saying that this story has any direct political ties, but it certainly seems like a story you’d only hear coming out of a state that’s trying to roll back civil rights and women’s rights a few decades, and that’s precisely what North Carolina is going through right now. First the state’s Republicans pushed through a Draconian new anti-abortion law attached to a motorcycle safety bill. Then they passed a new voter ID law aimed at keeping young and minority voters — people who shockingly wind-up voting for Democrats — and their Republican governor signed it into law.
And now to top it all off, feeding the homeless without a permit is an arrestable offense in North Carolina.
You honestly cannot make this stuff up if you tried. Love Wins Ministries, headed by Reverend Hugh Hollowell, has been handing out free food to the homeless citizens of Raleigh, North Carolina for the last six years. When people speak really harshly of religious organizations, they’re certainly not speaking about LWM, who got around a local ordinance about being permitted to distribute food by way of what Rev. Hollowell says was “good working relationship with the Raleigh Police Department.” Someone at the RPD or another seat of influence has decided that the days of feeding the hungry and homeless are over in Raleigh though.
This past weekend, as LWM set up their distribution point, they were approached by members of the police department and told Hollowell and his volunteer staff that if they attempted to feed the hungry, they’d be arrested on site. The cost of the permit is $1,600 per weekend which is clearly too much for a small non-profit group to withstand. So thanks to the efforts of some sociopath or another, the approximately seventy homeless people who would have gotten a hot breakfast sandwich this weekend were turned-away.
You know, it strikes me that you just can’t win with some people. Why do I get the feeling that the same asshole who decided to blow the whistle on LWM’s charity would moan and kvetch about taxpayers being asked to foot the bill for these hot meals? So which is it, North Carolina conservatives? Do you want your churches doing the heavy-lifting, or would you like to pay the bill? Oh that’s right, there’s a third option — letting homeless people starve. I mean hey, it could be considered a stimulus program for the area’s morgues and mortuaries, right? Silly me! I forgot how much conservatives hate stimulus too.
Before I get too ahead of myself, because it very easily could have been a liberal Democrat who decided enough with the feeding the homeless without permits — oh who the hell am I kidding? If there was any political motivation behind this move, can there be any doubt where it came from? Again, I’m not assigning political motivation to this story, but what do you expect when there’s a clear attempt by the right-wing to codify as much apathy and disregard for the suffering and needy in their state as is happening in North Carolina and elsewhere?
Why don’t we ask ourselves why exactly a church or any other charity organization would have to pay extra money to feed the homeless — a service to the taxpayers? As long as the food is prepared to sanitation and health standards, why should we expect those willing to go the extra mile to go two more miles more? It’s just insane to me that in this day and age anyone would have a problem with a church feeding the homeless. Isn’t that why we have taken such a hands-off approach with church charities in the first place?
It would be one thing if the church in question was asking for tax deductible status and handing out pro-Democrat leaflets with their hot meals. That simply isn’t the case here. What’s at stake in this story is the moral fiber of the American people. An extra tax on a charity foundation just seems cruel, especially when the stated goal of the charity in question is as altruistic as feeding those without food.
Stay classy, Raleigh city council.
Watch the video here: