From time to time we hear about some silly city ordinance that prohibits people from holding soup kitchens in public. One military veteran was arrested for a short time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for doing that. Much more recently a woman was fined $2,000 in San Antonio, Texas for operating a soup kitchen because she did not have a permit to do so. Here is the article.
Sometimes the excuse is brought up that they were giving food on a public park. But since when do the homeless get the ability to travel far distances to get the basic necessities of life? With the homeless you basically have to go to them for them to be able to find out about free food for them. I also find the political affiliation of these mayors to be ironic. Ivy Taylor — mayor of San Antonio — and Jack Seiler — mayor of Fort Lauderdale — are both Democrats, members of the Democratic Party. Aren’t Democrats supposed to stand up for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the homeless? Yet we see two cities led by Democrats where you can get arrested or fined for giving food to the poor in public unless you buy a permit. I wonder what liberal Democrats in the media, in Congress or at the White House think about these Democrats.
Catholic social teaching says, “In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies” (no. 1894). In these two examples the local governing body is interfering in the initiative” of individuals and intermediary bodies”. It is as if the believe only the state can properly give to the poor.