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Alabama Town Forces Pastor to Stop Feeding Homeless, Says $500 Permit Required (VIDEO)

rick-woodIn a day and age where there’s so many negative stories about religion, church and those involved, it’s frustrating to read a story about a pastor trying to do some good and getting shut down for his efforts.

Pastor Rick Wood of The Lord’s House of Prayer in Oneonta, Alabama has made a habit out of taking hotdogs and bottled water in his truck to feed the homeless.  Awesome, right?  A pastor of a church actually doing something that reflects the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Well, as it turns out, the town of Oneonta has apparently passed a new city ordinance that requires “food trucks” to obtain a permit (which costs as much as $500) if they want to sell food.  And apparently a pastor of a church giving food to homeless people out of his truck somehow qualifies him as a “food truck trying to sell food.”

Here’s an interview he did with the local news:

Now I’m not an expert on food trucks, but I think common sense dictates that there’s a difference between a truck selling food for profit and a pastor of a church trying to feed the homeless.  It’s just unfortunate that common sense seems to be a quality that’s sorely lacking in society nowadays.

“That makes me so mad,” Wood said in an interview with ABC 33/40 News. “These people are hungry. They’re starving. They need help from people. They can’t afford to buy something from a food truck.”

Pastor Wood claims it’s an effort by the city to drive the homeless away.

Which is believable because you’ve seen other towns pass laws that seek to drive the homeless away, including a town in Florida which banned the use of blankets by its homeless residents.

It’s stuff like this which infuriates me.  It’s hard enough for these people being homeless without these towns passing laws that target those who try to help the homeless, with the hopes that the laws will drive the homeless out and they can then become “somebody else’s problem.”

As for Pastor Wood, I applaud him for his efforts and for being a leader of a church who leads by example, not just shallow gospel.

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Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

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  • MLR

    Stuff like this not only infuriates me, it deeply saddens me, especially when the homeless and hungry are veterans who served this country. As someone who grew up in a border town, I’ve seen horrifying poverty right across the border, and children (some with missing limbs) at the border selling candy or other items to help support their families. And as a child I was always thankful that I was born in the USA. Now, I’m truly scared that we are well on our way to becoming what horrified me so much as a child. If republicans have it their way it will happen. My mother used to say that “all great empires will eventually fall.” I always thought to myself “not us”. Now, I’m not so sure.

  • Guest

    Yes; common sense would indicate that there is a difference, but that may not be spelled out the Birmingham city ordinance which addresses the safety and hygiene of food trucks. Perhaps in light of this incident, the City will amend their law to exclude charitable organizations from the requirement to pony up $500 (one-time or yearly? Not clear). In the meantime, though it may seem cruel, it strikes me as proper and legal for the City to charge the $500.

    I hope that the pastor, through the news coverage, has found enough donors to cover not only the $500, but also to increase his stock of food, for it is a lofty pursuit.

    • Mrs_oatmeal

      To charge the pastor $500 for handing out free food to the needy is just a ploy to make him stop. They probably would have charged Jesus for handing out food to the hungry! Homeless, starving people is the grand oil’ US of A is our dirty “little” secret that no one wants to deal with! Starve the hungry, let the naked freeze and the sick die! A grand plan!

      • Richard Verdejo

        Imagine if they’d forced Jesus “per loaf”….or requiring him to have an ABC Permit for changing water into wine….

    • gatorallin

      I would think this is a case where the pastor would keep handing out the food and NOT pay the $500 fee and Force the city to fine him, thus bringing even more attention to their work and this silly error in this rule. Any judge would be be happy to toss this one out.. (over and over again). Sometimes bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

  • Bert Sierra

    Yes; common sense would indicate that there is a difference, but that may not be spelled out the Birmingham city ordinance which addresses the safety and hygiene of food trucks. Perhaps in light of this incident, the City will amend their law to exclude charitable organizations from the requirement to pony up $500 (one-time or yearly? Not clear). In the meantime, though it may seem cruel, it strikes me as proper and legal for the City to charge the $500.

    I hope that the pastor, through the news coverage, has found enough donors to cover not only the $500, but also to increase his stock of food, for it is a worthy pursuit.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      …City will amend their law to exclude charitable organizations from the requirement…”
      Surely you jest.

  • Josh

    So let me get this straight. Republicans want to bitch and moan about snap and food stamps. Then they groan about how charities and churches should help those in need, and when the churches try to help the needy the local government decides to charge them for their good deeds. (In my sarcastic voice) This makes complete sense. We should also charge the homeless rent to sleep on the streets.

    • suburbancuurmudgeon

      And I’m sure there are Republicans who think that would be a fine idea.

      • Charles Vincent

        It isn’t just repubs amigo dems and progressives have this sort of policy as well. California is a hotbed of this sort of policy and I guarantee that the towns in Cali that have this are liberal/progs.
        https://www DOT google DOT com/search?q=dont+feed+the+homeless+laws&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb#channel=sb&q=dont+feed+the+homeless+laws+california&rls=org DOT mozilla:en-US:official

        Pick your poison.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        Republicans are far more likely to look at the homeless as deadbeats who choose to be homeless.

      • Charles Vincent

        Liberal towns and states having these laws refutes that assertion.

      • suburbancuurmudgeon

        I said “more likely.” Try doing a tally and see what you get. Betcha Republicans outnumber Democrats.

      • Charles Vincent

        Here is a link to a list of municipalities that have these sorts of ordinances. I think you will find its probably an even split if not more leaning to liberal/democrat/progressive.

        http://www DOT nationalhomeless DOT org/publications/crimreport/allcities DOT html

  • Sandra Burleson

    Stuff like this is why I’m sometimes ashamed to live in Alabama.

  • Sunnysmom

    Wow, a Christian ACTUALLY being a Christian and Alabama is trying to shut that down? Unbelievable.

    • guest

      He’s not being a “Christian”, he’s acting like Jesus would. HUGE difference! In fact, these days, the two are complete opposites! Alabama is “Christian”, which has nothing to do with Christ at all.

  • James Morton

    Forget for a moment the democrat/republican thing. How is it that a “need” to have a permit for this came to be? I’m actually curious about this. Those who believe that government has become too intrusive in our lives might look at this as another thing to put on the list. What agency jumped into action to harass this pastor?

  • Richard Verdejo

    Perfect example of the FAILURE of NCLB making it’s way into the political arena.

    The Oneonta, AL City Council is too stupid to realize that a pickup truck driven by a private citizen merely handing out food DOES NOT meet the common definition of a “food truck” or “food vendor” requiring an over-priced permit, or health dept inspections.

    I guess they’re all Atheists – because REAL Christians would have been applauding his efforts…and asking how they too could help.

    • Bob

      No, sorry. You have “REAL Christians” all wrong. Wake up please. “Christians” are greedy and judgemental of others they don’t like or understand. Anyone today who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ (like the pastor in the story) would do well to leave the term “Christian” behind, because it no longer applies.

  • bill seiber

    This is too painful fer me right now, right? But I’m here & my church feeds the homeless here in Columbus, OH every Sunday & Tuesday morning. Thosse people in Oneonta buttfuck AL needs their asses whipped big time. I’m sorry if that’s not PC, but I don’t like being pissed off/on on a Sat. evening. Thank you for the post, but we all know everyone isn’t as callous as those asswipes iinn Oneonta buttfuuck AL. I’m a proud methodist!

  • Kevin Daugherty

    well lets get together and get him the license since theyre so anal.

  • Brad Jines

    This is going on in St. Louis right now….volunteers and churches that have for decades been feeding the homeless hot meals and delivering hot sandwiches to homeless hangouts, are facing fines for not having all volunteers ‘certified’ food handlers through the Public Health Dept. ….The city of st. louis has been controlled by the democratic party for over 50 years.

  • Leigh1981

    The term “Christian” actually came into being AFTER Jesus died. Christians usually focus on a specific way of “believing” (a specific theology about God), and their goal is to evangelize the whole world and make it believe specific ideas just like they do. Most of these ideas center around believing things about the birth and death of Jesus.

    On the other hand, “disciples of Jesus” usually focus on following the teachings and life-lessons of Jesus. This is in a BIG way focused on love…since love is in the two greatest commands. They feed the hungry, help the poor, they advocate for the orphans and widows, and fellowship with the outcasts.

    There is a BIG difference.

    The Spanish Inquisition and Manifest destiny were both products of “Christianity”. Also, a census was done and Nazi Germany was 97% Christian during the time of the Holocaust when millions of Jews and Gypsies were thrown into death camps. The other 3% were….Jews and Gypsies.

  • David Shaw Jr

    All part of the effort to shame, stigmatize, and ostracize homeless people.