The Mayor of Scottsburg, William Graham, sent WDRB the following statement via city staff late Sunday evening:
“Homelessness is an issue of great concern to our community and the community is banning together to make a positive difference in the lives of the homeless. Several churches, and individuals, are feverishly working to meet the needs of these individuals. We are blessed to have these efforts. However, the health and safety of the people being helped, the people helping, and the neighborhood must be addressed.
There are many regulations from Federal, State and local governments that must be adhered to so as to ensure the health and safety of all is not jeopardized. The International Building Code is very specific about Health and Safety standards, and the zoning classification necessary for the church as it is presently being used. There has been no notice to close this facility. They were notified, by the City’s Local Building Official, that they have 10 days to start the process of becoming compliant.
There was a meeting in the Mayor’s office on June 7th with the Pastor of Grace Sovereign Baptist Church, members of some supporting churches, some members of the homeless coalition, the Mayor, Scottsburg Chief of Police and the Mayor’s Assistant, where many concerns from both sides were expressed. The City of Scottsburg wishes to work together to ensure code compliance and the health and safety of the homeless and of all the community.”
Neighbors living in a commu
Earlier this year, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church found a new mission in ministering to the homeless.
Does this mayor not realize that, if you stop people from giving makeshift help to the homeless and do not provide feasible alternatives that are legal, then the inevitable outcome is that people will poop, die, and decompose in the open streets. This is already happening in California as a result of such policies.
While the mayor of Scottsburg could be THAT STUPID and fail to see that disrupting makeshift shelter for the homeless without providing a FEASIBLE alternative inevitably results in people pooping, dying, and decomposing in the streets, the most likely reason is rooted in city economic planning. After the Supreme Court in Kelo vs Connecticut redefined “public use” to mean “public benefit,” governmental entities interpreted public benefit to mean anything that expands the tax base. In these terms the homeless contribute a negative contribution to the tax base, so governments have declared war.
Churches, on the other hand, see the homeless as much more than their economic margin. We see the homeless as people created in the image of God. This put the churches in conflict with city governments, which is where the degrading of religious freedom comes into play. Had Indiana passed the RFRA law Pence wanted, Pastor Walker would have stronger legal standing to push back against the city. I still think he has a case, as the city’s policy cannot possibly serve a secular purpose (unless you count amassing piles of money for the government to distribute to its cronies as a legitimate secular purpose) and in fact will do the opposite of what the city purports it is supposed to do.
It’s time for the city of Scottsburg, IN to end this abomination and repent. The city has no good reason to oppose this exercise of religious liberty by the church
Source: City request could force homeless out of Scottsburg church | News | wdrb.com