“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezek 16:49
By Michael Allen, Tue, November 04, 2014
Six police officers recently arrested members of Love Thy Neighbor, a group that feeds homeless people every Sunday at a public park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
One of those arrested on Sunday (video below) was Love Thy Neighbor’s 90-year-old founder, Arnold Abbott, who has been feeding the homeless for decades.
Rev. Canon Mark Sims, Rev. Dwayne Black and Irene Smith were each cited as well. They all face fines of up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail.
“It’s sad that we criminalize sharing food with people who are hungry, not necessarily even homeless,” Rev. Sims told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
“I don’t think the city has a right to tell us we can’t feed the homeless,” added Rev. Black. “This is breaking my Christian vows.”
For his part, Abbott has no intention of stopping.
“I went through World War II,” Abbott told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. “I fought in the Civil Rights movement. This won’t stop us. All this did was move us to court earlier than we had planned.”
On Oct. 22, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission approved a new ordinance, which limits outdoor homeless feeding sites and requires groups that feed the homeless to provide portable toilets; something the city itself has continuously failed to do.
“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” Rev. Sims told the Sun-Sentinel. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”