"Over the past week, twelve members of food activist group Food Not Bombs have been arrested in Orlando for giving free food to groups of homeless people in a downtown park. They were acting in defiance of a controversial city ordinance that mandates permits for groups distributing food to large groups in parks within two miles of City Hall. Each group is allowed only two permits per park per year; Food Not Bombs has already exceeded their limit. They set up their meatless buffet in Lake Eola knowing that they would likely be arrested as a result."
Down in Houston, a group of Christians was recently banned from distributing food to the homeless, and they were told that they probably would not be granted a permit to do so in the future even if they applied for one....
"Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.
"That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their "Feed a Friend" effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
"'We don't really know what they want, we just think that they don't want us down there feeding people,' said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9."
Dallas has also adopted a law which greatly restricts the ability of individuals and ministries to feed the homeless....
"A Dallas-area ministry is suing the city over a food ordinance that restricts the group from giving meals to the homeless.
"Courts dismissed Dallas' request for a summary judgment last week, saying the case, brought up by pastor Don Hart (in video above) may indeed be a violation of free exercise of religion, as protected by the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the blog Religion Clause reported.
"In the court filing, the ministry leaders argue that their Christian faith requires them to share meals with the homeless (Jesus did!) and that the requirement that even churches and charities provide toilets, sinks, trained staff and consent of the city keeps them from doing so."
A few years ago, Las Vegas became the first major U.S. city to specifically pass a law banning the feeding of homeless people....
"Las Vegas, whose homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people in and around the city, joins several other cities across the country that have adopted or considered ordinances limiting the distribution of charitable meals in parks. Most have restricted the time and place of such handouts, hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.
"But the Las Vegas ordinance is believed to be the first to explicitly make it an offense to feed 'the indigent.'"
That law has since been blocked by a federal judge, and since then many U.S. cities have been very careful not to mention "the indigent" or "the homeless" by name in the laws they pass that are intended to ban feeding the homeless.