A federal judge has ruled that a southern Oregon city can’t limit a local church’s homeless meal services.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke found that an ordinance passed by the small city of Brookings, on the southern Oregon coast, violated the religious freedom rights of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, KGW reported. He issued his opinion on Wednesday.

The 2021 ordinance limited the church’s homeless meal services to two days a week, and required a permit to serve free food in residential areas. It was passed in response to resident complaints.

The church sued the city in 2022, saying the ordinance violated its right to freely practice religion.

  • anon6789@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    I looked up where this ordinance came from.

    From AP

    The ordinance against serving more than two free meals a week came in response to a petition from people living near the church, who said the church’s programs were creating public safety problems, Jefferson Public Radio reported.

    The petition, which refers to the people around St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church as “vagrants” and “undesirables,” was signed by 30 people.

    The town has about 7000 residents if you want to get an idea about what I’m percentage of the residents seem to find this to be a problem.

    The church website claims they serve 210+ meals a week. Even if we assume everyone comes back for every meal, that’s 35 people.

    So if we look to serve the greatest good, it seems helping the homeless helps more people than if they were to help the judgemental NIMBYs.

    From the in OPs post:

    The city is currently asking the church to stop shower and advocacy services also bringing in homeless people into the neighborhood.

    A church not bathing and protecting the poor really does seem to go against what I feel what most would say a church should stand for. I’m going to side with the church here.

      • anon6789@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I find things like this to be a fun exercise of Google Fu.

        They’re usually so thinly veiled attempts at prejudice or racism you can let the facts do all the talking just by following back article links a few steps to get great quotes and numbers to show these people for who they are.

    • ShepherdPie@midwest.social
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      4 months ago

      For reference, Brookings is a little podunk town along the coast way down in the corner of Oregon near the California border. It’s highly unlikely that these homeless people are coming in from out of town since it’s far from any large city, so the people that are being attracted to this church already live in Brookings.

      • anon6789@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        My thought as well when looking at the photo in the wiki when I grabbed the population count.

        You never know though, those mountains could be full of phantom homeless!

        • catloaf@lemm.ee
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          4 months ago

          It looks like a nice enough place.

          It also looks pretty rich.

      • anon6789@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I try not to be tooooo judgemental in my reporting.

        I’d love to see an AITA post from one of these people though!

        • girlfreddy@lemmy.ca
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          4 months ago

          I used to love reading that on reddit, but when I subscribed to it here my feed was immediately swamped with AITA … so I unsubscribed.

          An occasional read is fine, but too much makes it seem like we’re all myopic selfish ijits that, although it may be true, does not give me hope for our survival.

          • anon6789@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            I normal don’t read that type of thing, but if just be curious to see how these people justify wanted to back homeless people getting fed and cleaned up by the church.

            Most of the Reddit ones I felt were fake to begin with, and there’s enough real negative stuff I need to read to stay informed that I didn’t need the negativity for “fun.”

    • bluGill@kbin.social
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      4 months ago

      A church should stand for whatever the tenants of the religion is. Christian is common in the us and generally holds help the poor as a tenant (as do several others) but tht doesn’t mean they all do.

      • anon6789@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I agree. I was just saying that it does indeed sound like what a church should be doing and the town is wrong for trying to make them stop doing these things. If the homeless were indeed doing bad things, I’m sure there were existing laws that could have stopped them, but since there were no violations, I presume, they had to invent new laws they would be in violation of.

        (Polite correction for you also: a tenant is someone who rents or occupies someone else’s tenements (a house/dwelling/residence), while a tenet is a principle or belief)