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Florida official tells Christian charity to choose between Jesus and cheese

Posted by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 7:52 AM
  • 21 Replies


A Florida ministry that feeds the poor said a state agriculture department official told them they would not be allowed to receive USDA food unless they removed portraits of Christ, the Ten Commandments, a banner that read “Jesus is Lord” and stopping giving Bibles to the needy.
“They told us they could no longer allow us to have any religious information where the USDA food is going to be,” said Kay Daly, executive director of the Christian Service Center.

So why did the government have an issue with the religious group’s religious decorations?
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture told me they were following the guidelines written by the USDA.

“This program is a USDA-funded program and the requirements were outlined by the USDA,” spokesperson Amanda Bevis said. “This agency administers the program on the state level. Our staff did provide a briefing to CSC following turnover in leadership at CSC and did review the USDA requirements.”

Daly said they were told it was a matter of separation of church and state.
A USDA spokesperson told me that “under current law, organizations that receive USDA nutrition assistance can still engage in religious activities so long as the activity is not used to create a barrier to eligible individuals receiving food.”

The USDA referred to an Executive Order providing equal protection for faith-based organizations. That order guarantees those groups the right to provide assistance without “removing or altering religious art, icons, scriptures or other symbols from these facilities.”

For the past 31 years, the Christian ministry has been providing food to the hungry in Lake City, Fla. without any problems. But all that changed when they said a state government worker showed up to negotiate a new contract.

“The (person) told us there was a slight change in the contract,” Daly told me. “They said we could no longer have religious information where the USDA food is being distributed. They told us we had to take that stuff down.”

Daly said it’s no secret that the Christian Service Center is a Christian ministry.

“We’ve got pictures of Christ on more than one wall,” she said. “It’s very clear we are not social services. We are a Christian ministry.”

Daly and her staff sat in stunned disbelief as the government agents also informed them that the Christian Service Center could no longer pray or provide Bibles to those in need. The government contract also forbade any references to the ministry’s chapel.

“We asked if we had to change the name of the organization but that said we could leave that,” Daly said. “But we had to take our religious stuff down.”

Daly said they were told they could continue distributing USDA food so long as it was somewhere else on the property – away from anything that could be considered religious.

In other words – the Christian Service Center had a choice: choose God or the government cheese.

So in a spirit of Christian love and fellowship, Daly politely told the government what they could do with their cheese.

“We decided to eliminate the USDA food and we’re going to trust God to provide,” she told me. “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.”

In a nutshell, Daly said the Christian Service Center would not be compromising.

“We are a Christian ministry,” she said. “Our purpose is to help people in need and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are going to pray with them. We are going to offer them a Bible. We are going to counsel them in Christian help. We are going to use our chapel.”

Churches across Lake City have stepped up to the challenge – filling the void left when the government took away their cheese.

“I’m called to do what the Lord tells me to do,” Daly said. “I’m not called to worry about it. I pray about it. The Lord answers our prayers and we move forward one day at a time, one person at a time.”

by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 7:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
lilangilyn
by on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM
3 moms liked this

Their "Christian" attitude will only hurt the needy who depend on the services. What they do resembles brainwashing. In other words, I'll give you food, but you will have to listen to my proselytizing and take this book. To me, this does create barriers that prevents eligible people from receiving what they need.

To me, this type of stubborness is truly a sin. It reminds me of children taking their ball and going home because they didn't get their way.

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:46 AM

When i was little i thought my heart wouldn't have enough room to love my mom as much as i wanted to if i had to love Jesus too.

 

Luvnlogic
by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:49 AM
"In other words – the Christian Service Center had a choice: choose God or the government cheese."- yeah, not what they were told or what was implied.

But it does appear that, once again, something foul is afoot in the state of Florida. The USDA guidelines seem pretty clear that removal of religious items isn't necessary. Maybe that office or administrator, in particular, is getting a little too big for their britches?!? Hope this is corrected and cleared up so this ministry can continue help those in need!!!
Seasidegirl
by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:50 AM
2 moms liked this

I remember a shelter up north that would not allow the homeless in unless they agreed to participate in Christian prayer. So, dude, you gotta sleep on the street unless you pray to MY Jesus.

This is a bunch of bullshit. If you are "truly" Christian, you will help the poor without pushing your beliefs on anyone else.

I bet this group was pushing it and it wasn't just about having Bibles available to people.

You know Obama is going to catch the blame for this one. lol.

Kazoo22
by Bronze Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:54 AM

What does Obama have to do with this?

Quoting Seasidegirl:

I remember a shelter up north that would not allow the homeless in unless they agreed to participate in Christian prayer. So, dude, you gotta sleep on the street unless you pray to MY Jesus.

This is a bunch of bullshit. If you are "truly" Christian, you will help the poor without pushing your beliefs on anyone else.

I bet this group was pushing it and it wasn't just about having Bibles available to people.

You know Obama is going to catch the blame for this one. lol.


Seasidegirl
by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:55 AM

 Oh, hang around for a while. They'll figure out a way to blame him.


Quoting Kazoo22:

What does Obama have to do with this?

Quoting Seasidegirl:

I remember a shelter up north that would not allow the homeless in unless they agreed to participate in Christian prayer. So, dude, you gotta sleep on the street unless you pray to MY Jesus.

This is a bunch of bullshit. If you are "truly" Christian, you will help the poor without pushing your beliefs on anyone else.

I bet this group was pushing it and it wasn't just about having Bibles available to people.

You know Obama is going to catch the blame for this one. lol.



 

prommy
by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM
2 moms liked this

 Of course it must be the fault of the Christian Ministry...it couldn't possibly be that the government interference was uncalled for. I bet no one's eyes burned because there were pictures of Jesus, you know, Jesus...the one who said we should feed the poor. I also bet no one was forced to accept a Bible, they were there for people who wanted one. 

Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM
I don't agree with offering people food only if they pray or take a bible, but I don't understand why they can't keep up some references to God on the wall. Just seems overboard.
Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

BUMP!

Seasidegirl
by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

 

And if only the Koran was "there for people who wanted one," that would have been ok with you, too?

Pressure. A lot can be said using no words. But I bet there were LOTS of words spoken.

Quoting prommy:

 Of course it must be the fault of the Christian Ministry...it couldn't possibly be that the government interference was uncalled for. I bet no one's eyes burned because there were pictures of Jesus, you know, Jesus...the one who said we should feed the poor. I also bet no one was forced to accept a Bible, they were there for people who wanted one. 


 

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