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‘Feed my sheep,’ then get arrested

‘Feed my sheep,’ then get arrested

Members of a group calling itself Orlando Food Not Bombs were recently arrested for feeding the hungry, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

It could be argued they were intentionally violating the letter of a municipal ordinance restricting group (25+ people) feedings in public parks, but that will be a matter for legal dispute.

Police waited until everyone was served to make the arrests, said Douglas Coleman, speaking for Orlando Food Not Bombs.

“They basically carted them off to jail for feeding hungry people,” said Coleman, who was not present. “For them to regulate a time and place for free speech and to share food, that is unacceptable.”

Orlando Food Not Bombs has been feeding the homeless breakfast on Mondays for several years and dinner on Wednesdays for five years.


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Susan Weinman

No i am neither blaming the hungry or invoking discrimination. Next you will be comparing this to nazis and we will have to invoke Godwin’s law.

what i am saying is there is a fine line between civil disobedience, which i am for. and working within the system until all other options are used which is what what we are called to do.

why is it when someone takes the middle path in an argument one side accuses them of being the other. There appears to be more to the story.

Gregory Orloff

Susan, the argument you’re positing is the same one that was used back when African-Americans first dared to sit at Southern lunch counters and in Southern bus station waiting rooms marked with “Whites Only” signs. “They’re breaking the law. They’re disrupting business. They’re disturbing the peace. That comes across as arrogant and uppity. They should have thought of a different, less confrontational, more patient, less in-your-face approach. If there’s a backlash… Well, what do they expect?”

Obeying the law isn’t always Christian, Susan. Sometimes nonviolent civil disobedience against an unjust law, such as one which outlaws feeding the homeless so we can pretend that plight doesn’t exist, is called for. Peter the Apostle and his brethren thought so (Acts 5:29). So did Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And Martin Luther King Jr. And many others.

How often the Pharisees complained that Jesus and his disciples were breaking the law! (See Matthew 12:1-13, Mark 2:23-27, Luke 6:1-10, Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:1-5, for example).

Bob McCloskey

This also happened in Miami during my rectorship of St. Stephen’s, Coconut Grove in the early 1990’s. The City Commission raised a similar ban on churches in particular, in their effort to force the homeless to leave the community. The wording of it caused some of my clergy colleagues to question whether we could administer bread and wine in the eucharist!

I organized a vigil and a march on city hall from St. Stephen’s, which is only a few blocks from city hall. Several hundred people showed up as did the TV media, and the City Commission got the message. The resolution was dropped. In its aftermath a coalition of private business, religious groups and city government developed a state of the art homeless center downtown and another in Homestead. The success of these facilities negated the need for a third facility which was being planned. There is still a homeless problem in Miami but it is not nearly as severe as before. Many if not most of those who choose to remain on the streets have refused the program of the Miami Homeless Coalition. Our board of advisors included a social activist priest Fr. Thomas Wenski, at the time pastor of a parish in Little Haiti. Today Tom is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Miami.


So now people will go hungry because of their arrogance.

And here I thought people went hungry because they didn’t have food! O_o

You have a remarkable way of blaming the victim(s), Susan.

JC Fisher

Susan Weinman

there was more to it than that. they were told not to do it there and broke the law intentionally. They were doing it on purpose to get attention. They could have achieved the same goal in a different way but chose not too. So now people will go hungry because of their arrogance. There are other scripture about obeying the laws and doing charity in private not for the world to see. Do i think the law is stupid. absolutely. but what they did was not christian. they needed to think outside the box to do what they felt was right. there were other ways. but they chose not to find them.

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