Lawsuit: Anti-Feeding Ordinance Violates Religious Rights

A lawsuit is expected to be filed Thursday to stop Houston's ban on feeding the city's homeless.

Attorney Eric Dick says his client is the son of a local pastor who believes Houston's “Charitable Feeding” ordinance which requires a permit to share food to more than five people, violates his God given right as a devout Christian.

“He drives down the street and when he sees someone asking for money, instead of giving them money he gives them bottled water and a can of tuna,” he says.  “But how it works at the city is if you do that more than five times you have to get a permit to do it.”

Phillip Bryant's lawsuit claims the ordinance violates his religious rights.

“There's a Texas religious rights statute, and its an infringement on his religion,” says Dick.  “There are so many Bible versus that talk about sharing food, a ton of them, and they're all listed out in the demand letter we sent the city.”

He argues Bryant cannot obtain a permit because he doesn't know in advance when Christ will compel him.

“If Christ was alive today, he would potentially be facing fines in the city of Houston,” Dick argues.  “But in reality, if any time the city decides to enfoce the law, Phillip is facing a $200 fine each transaction or a night in jail, or hanging out at the pokie if he can't pay the fine.”

Not only has the city ignored Bryant's notice to sue, but Dick says the mayor's office has continued to dismiss thousands of petition signatures calling to rescind the ordinance.

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