Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Bit About Choosing Between Christ and Government Cheese

[L] Kay Daly, Executive Director of Christian Family Ministry (photo: Suwaunee Valley Times)

Fox News Radio's Todd Starnes reported how Christian  Service Center of Lake City Florida is being forced between choosing Jesus or Government Cheese.  For 31 years, this north  Florida ministry had been providing food the the hungry without controversy.  But when a state government worker showed up to negotiate  an agreement , Christian Service Ministry Executive Director Kay Daley was told that a "slight change" in the contract.  Now the governmental guidelines about where USDA food is distributed, there can be no religious information under the premise of "the separation of church and state". 

The Executive Order for Equal Protection of Faith Based and Community Organizations is supposed to allow governmental assistance as long as the religious activity does not create a barrier to individuals receiving their governmental assistance.   Yet the Christian Service Center was told that they were prohibited from distributing Bibles but this ban religious information that included  religious decorations, like "Jesus is Lord" banners and a copy of the Ten Commandments, where ever  USDA food is distributed.  Hence Stern's characterization of choosing Jesus or government cheese.

The organization asked if they needed to change their name from the Christian Service Ministry to comply and they were told no, but no praying, mentioning of chapel, distributing Bibles or beign around religious decoration.  The Christian Service Ministry chose to forgo USDA assistance in their ministering to the hungry.  Kay Daly mused:

“If God can multiply fish and loaves for 10,000 people, he can certainly bring in food for our food pantry so we can continue to feed the hungry.”

The Christian Service Ministry decided that they were a Christian ministry, which included helping people in need by praying with them, providing the Good News, worshiping and providing physical nutrition without government "help" and interference.  Other churches are reportedly pitching in the fill the void from the governmental help in feeding the hungry was withdrawn.  


So the Christian Service Ministry was probably within their legal rights to conduct their social service ministry in their own space, but since a federal functionary did not probably interpret the lawcorrectly (and understands this Administration), it would cost big bucks to litigate to keep federal funds flowing to feed the hungry. No wonder why the Christian Service Ministry chose to forgo their cut of the Government Cheese.

Nevertheless, as Bob Dylan put it: "You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows." The Obama Administration has been hostile for respecting the free exercise of religion, as has been seen in the HHS Qualified Health Plan(Contraception) Mandate arguing that the Freedom of Religion means the Freedom of Worship--so believe whatever you want in the pews but that respect ends at the church doors. Ministers are now routinely barred from mass casualtysituations like the Boston Marathon bombing, for fear of the separation of church and state.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Church of 1802 and is a reaction to aggressive atheism in small segments of the American polity.


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