Not feeding the hungry? Is that even Christian?

The following letter appeared in the Oroville Mercury-Register on April 9, 2018:

After years of criminalizing homelessness in Chico, and the problem only growing worse, our mayor now wants to double-down by making it illegal to feed the hungry in public spaces. Modern Christian practice forced me to seek spiritual comfort elsewhere long ago, yet my values remain largely consistent with the teachings of Jesus, who himself shared much wisdom with so many other radical humanitarians representing all the great religions of the world.

If he remains in good standing while seeking always to pamper the powerful and punish the poor, then Chico Mayor Sean Morgan’s denomination must teach from a different book than my Bible school did. Money grubbing varieties of Protestantism that exalt pastors with luxury while impoverishing the flock are all too familiar, but the mayor looks too comfortable for that tradition. Which church lets you call yourself one of them from a prominent elected office, while so thoroughly opposing all of Jesus’ admonitions on social justice?

Adding to my theological confusion are those Chico Friends on the Street folks. Some of them are almost certainly heathens, but they’re acting suspiciously Christian, out there helping and hanging with our unsheltered neighbors every week in the plaza. I know for a fact a few of them refuse to consume any animal products and some might even think critters have rights of their own. If they’re taking the scriptural principle of mutual responsibility a little too far, does that make them atheists or saints?

— Dan Everhart

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