Kender's Hypothetical Absurdity

Good ol' Kender is up in arms about the ACLU protesting the city of Orlando's proposed ban on feeding the homeless in parks in Orlando, Florida. He says the ACLU is supporting the "terrorization" of Orlando residents (gotta love the ridiculously inflated and emotion laden rhetoric there) and you'll love the reasoning:

The Orlando City Council recently passed an ordinance that prohibits the feeding of large groups of people in city parks without a permit, and the ACLU is about to file a lawsuit over it.

My short take on this is that many chronically homeless people are unbalanced and may pose a threat to the peaceful citizens of Orlando. If one of these homeless people were to attack a citizen while being fed in the park by a charity the city could be sued for failing to keep its citizens safe, especially from a foreseeable danger.

If this charity wants to feed the homeless let them secure a building for that very purpose.

But Kender, your reasoning still applies there. If homeless people pose a threat to the peaceful citizens of Orlando, then why would feeding them in a building be any different? Lots of churches run soup kitchens for the homeless, what if one of them attacks someone outside the church? Orlando better ban the feeding of the homeless completely, if your reasoning is to be applied consistently. And by the way, the suit they're going to file in Orlando (and in Las Vegas, where a similar ordinance is in the works) is on behalf of a group of churches.

You know, Christian churches who have actually read the words of Jesus, who time and again exhorted his followers to feed the poor and care for the sick, not to ignore them and ban them from their towns on the premise that they might do something bad to someone later on. What would Jesus do? He'd feed the homeless, and he'd do it wherever he could find them. Homeless people tend to gather in public parks in big cities. Why? Because they're public, for crying out loud. If they wander on to someone's private property they can be arrested, so public parks are all they've got.

We hear all this screaming from the STACLUless about the ACLU's campaign to destroy Christianity, yet here they are defending Christian churches doing the very thing that the Bible commands them to do and they're still slamming them for it. The irony is that the STACLUless throw a fit over the right to pray in public - which Jesus commanded his followers not to do (Matthew 6:5-6) - yet support a law that forbids churches from doing that which Jesus commanded them explicitly to do.

Indeed, in Matthew 25 Jesus makes clear that if one does not treat the poor and hungry as they would treat Jesus himself, they are not righteous:

"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

I dare say that I am more a follower of Jesus than these hypocrites who speak in his name. Even as a non-believer, I have volunteered in gospel missions and soup kitchens and fed meals to the homeless. I've built houses for the poor and raised money to build more. I've raised funds for women's shelters, visited the sick in hospitals and helped build a foundation and a halfway house that helped countless AIDS victims. I say this not to trumpet my own goodness but to help answer the obvious question: who is the real anti-Christian here? I would say it's the one who defends laws that prevent the churches from doing what Jesus commanded them to do.


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I think Kender is equating this thing to a rule at zoos: "Don't feed the animals"
Although, IMO, he's including homeless as part of the group "animals". Guess he doesn't feel they're human?

I live in Orlando and this is the typical types of thing cities and counties do here to try to get the homeless to stay away. It doesn't work. The homeless will come for the mild winter regardless of silly laws like this. So while I don't understand why, I do comprehend why the city is doing this. What I can't get my tiny brain around is how the STACLU can hate the ACLU so much that they would make themselves look so hateful and foolish. They don't seem to get the concept of picking your fights so you position will be shown in the best light. They would have been best for them to have left this one alone.

Of all of the pre-conditioned, unthinking, knee-jerk clowns involved with STACLU and the similarly embarrassing "Wide Awakes Radio," this asshole deserves be taken the least seriously. He's described San Francisco as "that bastion of Socialism and lefty shitmongers, (yes, I said "shitmongers" and I am using it in the most derogatory use possible, (you buttfucking, dengenerate, felching, nutchompers)" (… ), tried to incite harassment against Michael Schiavo ( ), claimed in an open letter to Mr. Schiavo that "my family would have killed you had you done this to one of ours" (… ), written "I hate the fact that there is a Miss Black America out there" (… ), and told a commenter, "If I ever find out who you are, and I meet you face to face, I am going to kick your ass, and by that I mean that I am going to cause you physical, intense, life altering pain that will leave you in need of serious medical care and wallowing in constant painful misery for the rest of your useless, cowardly life" ( ). A real prize, this guy.

Actually, this schizophrenic data dump is perhaps most emblematic of the guy's failed intellect and violent mien:….

Ignorance, hatred, an excess of nitrogen in the bloodstream (Kender is on dialysis) and access to the Internet can certainly combine to produce some marvelous results.

Nutchompers? That's one I've never heard before.

By Jeff Rients (not verified) on 15 Aug 2006 #permalink

I worked in homeless services agencies for a good while, and while the ACLU is 100% right that laws against feeding are bullplop, I'm definately of the mind that providing services to people on the streets is the exact wrong way to go in tackling homelessness. Church groups, ironically, tend to be the main element here in the sort of "loaves" strategy: providing services that basically help homeless people make a semi-functional routine for themselves living on the streets.

In contrast, most social services agencies and secular non-profits in the business have the ethic that we should do everything we can to get people off the streets, because simply put, living on the streets is dangerous, obnoxious (which guess what: gets funding to help the homeless cut, in the end), and only exacerbates in many cases the problems that most homeless people are dealing with (drug problems, mental illness, etc.)

Enabling life on the streets and not using services as a carrot to get them off of them is counter-productive. It's a great way to make yourself feel saintly, because you don't have to put very much effort into anything: you toss money or food at the homeless, expect to be seen as a hero, but you never have to really engage with them or work with them, which is often really hard and depressing, but also far more important. It's the Mother Teresa approach: do the least possible, maintain people in the horrible state they are in instead of trying to help them get out of the bad situation.

Now, granted, I worked in New York City, where there really were all sorts of services and programs to help the homeless get off the streets, find jobs, fight addiction, and so forth, as well as a right to shelter. But I think the basic idea applies: the goal should always be to get folks off the streets rather than making it easier and easier to live there and not really engaging these people's larger circumstances that put them there in the first place.


I don't think it has to be an either/or situation. Some will go to shelters, some will not, for their own reasons. The only alternative is to let those who won't starve to death.

If I have extra food that I don't need, I'll give to whoever I choose and I'll do it wherever I damn well please.

If someone else doesn't want to feed the homeless residing in a park, I'm not going to force them to.


True, there are many homeless who, because of addiction or mental illness, need to be nudged off the street for their own good. But there are also plenty who have made a conscious decision about the life path they wish to follow. Who are you to tell them otherwise?

My home town just gave an order to a private group to stop feeding homeless people in a downtown park. No ordinance, just an order from the PD. It seems this wasn't a problem until all the old buildings went condo. Now, I know that walking past panhandlers is not always fun; it helps if you give them something, of course, cuts down on the guilt.

I have chosen to limit my assistance to volunteer work at the local shelter, for many of the reasons you have outlined. But when it is cold out, we get visitors who we would otherwise never see. They are there because they have no choice. But as soon as it warms up, they are gone. It is not the sort of freedom I would choose. But they also are Gods children, and we must love them wherever they are.

The Orlando City Council recently passed an ordinance that prohibits the feeding of large groups of people in city parks without a permit.

I'm not sure that I see the problem. Why shouldn't people who plan to take up space in a public park with a large group activity, however commendable (as this one is), be required to get a permit? That just seems to be a practical issue to assure that several groups with different activities don't end up competing with each other for the same space at the same time.

Or is the implication that the city would refuse ever to issue permits for feeding people in the park?


The city is trying to end all feeding of the homeless in public parks. Permits are irrelevant.

Julia, the crowd is already there anyways. They just tend to blend in - unnoticed until they congregate.

Plunge - I must point out that the resources do not exist to get every homeless person into a shelter and back on their feet. It is commendable that you do what you do but if all the homeless tried to utilize such services you would soon be overwhelmed.

Julia, here in Florida we get a large influx of homeless every winter. To keep the homeless for hanging out in their "fair" cities, local governments have tried a number of different laws to restrict them. Most of these laws do not stand up in court. It is very hard to justify to a judge why someone should be restricted from being in a public place, so using loitering and assembly laws have largely failed. This is just another attempt to keep the homeless out of Orlando. I mean really we can't have these filthy disgusting homeless here in Dizzy heaven. <---- sarcasm. Instead of finding ways to help, the local governments just try to get them to go somewhere else, and make them a SEP (Somebody Else's Problem).

I have a friend who lives in Sarasota, and he says that his hometown has been rated the most "homeless-unfriendly" city in the country. How this is assessed I have no idea.