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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thou shalt not feed the poor without government permission

Vancouver's municipal government is happy to have churches help the poor. You just need to get their permission first.

Tenth Avenue Alliance Church, which has two programs to feed and shelter the homeless is in the midst of some renovations. As a result, the people who are being helped are no longer coming in the  back entrance of the  church. Neighbors of the church, fearing  increased  crime and  drug use as the poor people in the neighborhood come to get free meals, have persuaded the city's Planning Department to insist on several  conditions  before the  programs  may continue. As this story notes, the city wants the church to track the homeless, have volunteers do security work around the church while the programs are in operation, and regularly report to the city.

The city's conditions may not seem onerous, but a later editorial explains  why  such a precedent is ominous:

...the precedent once set may be applied to all churches in all     municipalities. What is ultimately at stake is not whether a church can     afford to meet the onerous conditions and cost of the ‘social     service’ permit, but the state’s restricted definition of a     church use to that of religious worship only.

Conservatives need to emphasize that private and religious charities do a much better job of helping the poor and disadvantaged than government does. (Marvin Olasky's The Tragedy of American Compassion, although it cites American examples, illustrates this quite well.) The city of Vancouver's "harm reduction" program, which merely maintains instead of solving drug addicts' problems, implies that, if the city took over what Tenth Avenue Alliance is doing, a long term  civic  "feed the homeless" bureaucracy--one that is expensive and ineffectual--would probably be entrenched  for years.

Given that Vancouver's garbage collection workers led the civic workers out on strike yesterday, anyone with a heart for helping the poor would want to see that work in exclusively private hands.

There's already a chilling effect on other churches in the city.  We may well see  similar stories in the media soon, as opponents of church feed-the-poor programs start to target smaller efforts. Small churches with such programs barely manage to pass out food and practically do not have the manpower to do all the necessary paperwork or provide anti-crime security guards as Tenth Avenue Alliance can. Imposing a permit on these small initiatives would kill them, and one has to wonder if the the city of Vancouver's bureaucrats have realized this.

A friend of mine, preaching last Sunday, had a pithy way of putting the issue. I can paraphrase him as saying "So, all that we can do is sit in our churches and  pray and sing and listen  to somebody preach?" 

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 21, 2007 in Religion | Permalink


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"private and religious charities do a much better job of helping the poor and disadvantaged than government does."

Heck, private industry does the same. Wal-Mart saves consumers over $4,000 a year with their lower prices for their regular customers. Unless someone is on full welfare, no one sees that kind of money from the Government.

That's why union thugs & their supporters hate Wal-Mart. That money should be going into union pockets - not the pockets of your average citizen! (sarcasm!)

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 11:10:32 AM

It's all about Government control. I think this i still on the books in Vancouver:

If a person takes in a youth off the streets of the city, feeds him, clothes him and provides him with a place to sleep without notifying some government agency, he is breaking the law. However, if he gives him money for sexual favours, they will look the other way because this "poor" teenager has to get by while trying to support himself.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 11:14:05 AM

I take it Hiebert is advocating that religious and private organizations should be able to operate soup kitchens and other services without accountability or any rules intended to ensure the public good. Why this exemption should happen is not explained except a general statement that they are better then public services. Highly debatable I would say, except in a jurisdiction like B.C. where public services have been so badly mishandled by a conservative government.

It appears the reason for requirements is NIMBYism. Local neighbours who want some assurance about their security. It's rather strange for a right winger to argue against this. Neighbours' concerns should not be considered? I'd like to see a defence of that proposition here.

Its unfortunate the article contains errors of fact that detract from its essence. Two examples. First "harm reduction" is one leg of a four pillar approach and study after study have confirmed its usefulness. Secondly, the law requires essential services be maintained during a strike. Various social services will not be impacted in Vancouver.

OBC, as always, first confuses keeping people in poverty wage jobs with a solution to poverty. Secondly, he has no idea of how good the work of publicly supported, religiously managed services have been in addressing youth homelessness, etc. I take it, he has never heard of Covenant House or bothered to do any enquiry before posting.

It is to their credit some religious and non-profit societies have moved in to fill the gap. They are to be commended and encouraged. Accepting minimum regulation to mitigate unintended consequences is not unreasonable. It makes much more sense to work with neighbours and decision-makrs to ensure the regulation is not onerous or self-defeating.

Posted by: munroe | 2007-07-21 12:34:58 PM

"OBC, as always, first confuses keeping people in poverty wage jobs with a solution to poverty."

That's funny. I've never this from him. Are you sure you aren't intentionally misrepresenting his statements due to bad faith arguments on your part?

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-07-21 12:39:36 PM

Not at all, H2. Check back on his pro-Walmart rantings.

Posted by: munroe | 2007-07-21 12:45:38 PM

I believe OBC before I believe you. Just checking your disingenuous post on the CBC vs. Ali thread shows why.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-07-21 12:47:39 PM

H2 I really don't give a damn what you believe. The fact is OBC has continuously done his Walmart is wonderful for the poor thing. A billion dollar company built on the backs of workers; both its so-called "associates" and slaveshops in the third world.

Posted by: munroe | 2007-07-21 12:55:42 PM

And I don't give a damn that you don't give a damn. The fact is that you misrepresent OBCs intentions just like you are doing on the "CBC vs. Ali" thread.

It's intentional. You know it. We know it. You know we know it...on and on. Ha ha. Very funny.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-07-21 12:58:58 PM

It is reassuring to know that there are churches, governments and other agencies fighting over which of them can and is doing the best job of tending the useless er ... I meant homeless, because I could not care less.

Most of the rest of us non bleeding-heart non mush heads who think that giving free stuff and drugs to freeloaders and drug addicts is a good fix.

When you really want to help someone like say a drug addict, you separate him from the drugs ... same for alcoholics. Anything else is merely enabling them to continue to be whacked out losers.

When one has no other choice, one will do the right thing or have the courtesy to simply die. That is how humanity became strong and self reliant in the first place. The more scum that is tolerated, accommodated and carried the weaker we become as a people.

In war it is a common practice to shoot to wound, that takes out three, one wounded, two to carry. Same idea.

The poor, the weak, the feeble the addicted ... these are all useful tools in the furthering of the nanny state to continue it's increasing control over the citizenry. We are already a long way down the road to where half the population is busy and paying a heavy price carrying the other half.

This cannot and will not endure. It will collapse just as sure a FREE BEER sign on a tavern will rid the tavern of all beer.

Quoting stats is moot. That is like counting deck chairs on the Titanic. Socialist nanny states quickly turn into totalitarian nightmare states as soon as the funding runs out. Funding of course, comes from free enterprise not a government printing press or government run corporations.

There is no Utopian world run by benevolent flower power governments. The closest we have come to date is the free enterprise democratic state that allow anyone the freedom to prosper or not. Those who choose, not shouldn't be compensated by the rest of us. Again it would be better to administer the tough love formula and let them help themselves.

When you help someone, they will always remember you ... the next time they need help.

When you cut someone loose on their own they most likely will thank you someday for setting them free.

Posted by: John | 2007-07-21 12:59:28 PM

"The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth" more or less
with ten percent down, plus regular affordable
payments - Macleod

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-07-21 1:07:20 PM

Yes, but they may have to pay an inheritance tax the size of Asia before pocketing the rest of the Earth. And let's not forget the land transfer tax, property taxes, etc. etc.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-07-21 1:10:21 PM

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 2:27:26 PM

h20 ~

What else would one expect from marilyn?

Leftoids misrepresent (lie!) in order to gain power over others. That is the only way they can succeed, because if they were forthright in their philosophy and their plans to implement them, they would not have a chance of attaining that power.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 2:35:27 PM

. . . which is why union thugs intimidate others to get what they want. Their utter failure in unionizing the world's largest employer and intimidating Wal-Mart is driving them nuts!

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 2:38:41 PM


That's why it's important to continue to defend the right of the individual to make as many of his own choices as possible.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-07-21 2:39:25 PM

Easy for Jefferson to say. Of course he was a slave owner -notice that his "Declaration" did not extend to slaves - Jefferson and his fellow "patriots"
put their "United States" on the road to a bloody
Civil War. Great Britain supported Slavery in for instance 1749, when Halifax NS was founded by Royal Warrant. Lord Halifax Chairman of the British Board of Trade headed the largest Slave exporting company in the world at that time. Sat in the faculty club at Princeton U one late afternoon, some years ago
and pointed out to several professors who joined us for lunch that if Cornwallis had defeated Washington -he and his companions would have been promptly hanged by the British - but slavery would have continued. Most agreed. Actually Canada became the better country as the years went by from 1761 - Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2007-07-21 2:42:32 PM

...i'm just waiting for the day when some dead beat smuck gets sick from the macaroni dinner or something and sue's the church.

Now watch what the government will do then. Who's side will it be on? And if so, which lawyer would stoop that low?

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-07-21 2:49:41 PM

In the church/state divide, which is better suited to deliver compassion?

Posted by: set you free | 2007-07-21 3:02:25 PM

Yeah, the British were so anti-slave. That must be why they supported the South in the American Civil War, supplying them with arms in exchange for cotton - that day's precious commodity, equivalent of today's oil.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 3:09:26 PM

A few years ago the Gospel Mission in Vancouver ran into typical bereaucratic bullshit from the city regarding their free meal program.They provide thousands of free meals during the year to those who are homeless and dsetitute especially during holiday time(Christmas etc.) The spokesman for the Gospel Mission, Morris Mackelwait(sp?) basically said that "if we have to do that we can't afford to do the program". But the city was adamant. So Morris said "fine, were cancelling the program". Guess who backed down?

As for myself I avoid having to worry about things like rules, policies, etc regarding the poor and homeless. I simply never give anything to anyone regardless of circumstances.Can't get in any trouble that way.

Horny Toad

Posted by: Horny Toad | 2007-07-21 3:28:22 PM

Jack MacLeod:
"Actually Canada became the better country as the years went by from 1761", agreed.
Why? We were/are part of the British Empire and remain a Monarchy.

Never been more convinced of it than watching the over-the-top scandalous treatment of Conrad Black at the hands of the Prosecution in that Chicago Court.
Lynch Mobs have nothing on those shameful excuses for Humanity let alone Justice.
If he is given anywhere near what the Prosecution is salivating after he may as well have committed murder. His life is over unless there is political intervention.

Posted by: LizJ | 2007-07-21 4:15:43 PM

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 4:20:47 PM

Liz, Black again? Its not a nom de plume for Barbara is it?

Posted by: munroe | 2007-07-21 4:34:29 PM

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Thomas Jefferson

And what did he say about REMF's like you?

Posted by: St Albion Parish News | 2007-07-21 4:36:29 PM

St. A, quiet now. I think that was the sound of OBC volunteering. Iran needs him.

Posted by: munroe | 2007-07-21 4:39:42 PM

So Wal-Mart is a bad employer because it is not unionized? They why does it consistently score in the top fifty employers in the country. I shop in a number of different stores. What sets Wal-Mart apart is not only the attractive prices. The employees (who are on profit sharing) actually smile and are available to serve the customer. I have been to Sears and the Bay and had to interrupt sales associates gossip to obtain service.

Posted by: DML | 2007-07-21 4:39:51 PM

So Wal-Mart is a bad employer because it is not unionized? They why does it consistently score in the top fifty employers in the country.

You do have to wonder about these rankings of the "Best Employers in Canada". Wal-Mart ranks above the Royal Bank, Merck Frosst, M-B Canada, FedEx Canada, but below Macdonald's.

Posted by: St Albion Parish News | 2007-07-21 4:54:34 PM


Precisely. Union thugs are like profs with tenure. They have no incentive to do their job properly. They'd have to kill someone while on the clock to be terminated.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 4:54:55 PM

Vermont was the first American Colony to abolish slavery in 1777.

In England, the Methodists (Wilberforce etc) launched their campaign against the slave trade back in 1787.

Great Britain abolished slavery in 1833. France, beacon of liberty (joke) abolished slavery in 1848.

By the way, the Muslims did not participate in the anti-slavery movement back in the nineteen century and some countries with Muslim majority populations, like Mauritania for example, still practice slavery today.

Try telling this to Avi Lewis and Munroe

Posted by: andré | 2007-07-21 7:27:49 PM

Avi & marilyn cannot be convinced of anything if it enfringes on their Dipper philosophy.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-21 7:31:14 PM

Further to the point andre intoduced:




Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-07-21 7:37:36 PM

Thank you Brent. Excellent source of information.

Posted by: andré | 2007-07-21 7:46:40 PM

Our form of government is uniformly insane. Period.

Posted by: JC | 2007-07-21 11:59:33 PM

The government won't tolerate competition in the welfare business. They want total control of all the zombies so they can continue to grow their mighty bureaucracy. The homeless industry rakes in HUGE $$$.

Posted by: David | 2007-07-22 12:09:50 AM

Spot on, David!

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-22 8:34:29 AM

munroe said:

"I take it Hiebert is advocating that religious and private organizations should be able to operate soup kitchens and other services without accountability or any rules intended to ensure the public good."

Actually, if you read the article the church was already feeding people and the only complaint seems to be that the poor are now using the front door, instead of the back door.

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2007-07-22 10:14:23 AM

"if you read the article"

Don't expect marilyn to let the facts interfere with his Leftoid anti-religious biases.

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-22 10:27:50 AM


You are welcome.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-07-22 12:26:15 PM

And my gratitude to Brent will be expressed within 2 weeks. :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-22 12:29:21 PM

Hard to believe! (not really)

A construction union that is on strike in Washington D.C. has hired the homeless, students and retirees to picket for them. They are paid minimum wage (less than Wal-Mart pays its contented employees!) with no benefits.

The picketers' bosses are so heartless!!!

Posted by: obc | 2007-07-24 6:54:25 PM

Isn't telling people not to feed the poor like telling them not to feed the pigeons? Sounds pretty dehumanizing to me but only in BC I'm certain they will have ensured most of its poor residents have their share of BC's garbage and its not cheap either as BC bankers and government have created a special garbage bank where they shop for the poor and feed them the cities local garbage OR they can shop themselves but only the poor get to buy the garbage not the regular citizens. Its easy to as now the stores just get Quest to pick up their garbage at no cost and then Quest sells it to government agencies and its poor unregulated food which makes everybody sick. And it is garbage thats for sure with a lot of the food not fit for human consumption but then BC government does not treat its poor like they are people but rather like they are inhuman as here in BC its BEAT A BUM AND STARVE A KID AS A NATIONAL PASTIME. Did you know we have kids with rickets here in bc how can that be. Anyways BC keep your garbage and guit getting your government to steal my transfer payments so I starve. Disabled and ederly in bc. The war on poverty does not mean to kill off the poor.

Posted by: Colleen Moore | 2007-09-14 2:48:58 PM

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