The lawsuit against Mayor Nutter’s decrees was filed in federal court yesterday. Our lawyers filed for a preliminary injunction to allow us to keep serving the homeless and poor while the case is being decided and filed for a permanent injunction to block the regulations as unconstitutional and a violation of Pennsylvania’s Freedom of Religion Act.
I have been serving the poor and homeless by giving away free food in the parks of Philadelphia in center city since 1987. We have been doing it as The King’s Jubilee just about every week, sometimes twice a week, since February of 1989, with no government money, always serving in Jesus’ Name. When the ban was to go into effect last Friday, June 1, I was shocked as to how it affected me. I woke up Friday morning with tears in my eyes. I cried all day. I basically cried or was on the edge of tears for three days. I just could not help myself. What Mr. Nutter did is so hateful and so hurtful!
Even before enforcing anything, volunteers have been scared away from serving for fear of being arrested. Their fear may be based on a misperception, but the press has not been exactly trustworthy on most of the details. Support for many ministries has faltered, because people think we are going to be quitting. The homeless themselves feel that the mayor and city council hate them. Again, the actions have been only the mayor’s, but the press has consistently reported it as “legislation”. Clearly this is an indication that the mayor has overreached the separation of powers. He is not supposed to be legislating. I did propose an ordinance that the City Council could conceivably pass, if they had the gumption. They censured the mayor, but they are saying their hands are tied and are leaving it up to us and our lawsuit to stop him. Or so they say. Most of them did not bother to attend the hearing on the matter. What do you think? Are they cowards or just lazy?
Have they become institutionalized from having been there too long? It’s time to turn the rascals out. This city will have to answer to God for how they treated “the least of these.”
I do have to applaud Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell who has been consistent and tireless in her stand with the poor and homeless through the decades. It was great to see her again last Thursday after all these years. She called and chaired the hearing on these new decrees, and urged the mayor to postpone their implementation. May they never be implemented!
(I should explain that I am called “Rev.” and “Pastor” in these documents. This harks back to my ordinations when I started this ministry and the fact that the guys still call me “Rev.” and I do still pastor, and I could not get the lawyer to stop calling me that, just like I can’t stop the guys on the street.) Here are the documents that were filed:
- MEMORANDUM OF LAW
- EXHIBIT A: Affidavit of Rev. Brian Jenkins
- EXHIBIT B: Affidavit of Rev. Violet Little
- EXHIBIT C: Affidavit of Rev. Cranford Coulter
- EXHIBIT D: Affidavit of Adam Bruckner
- EXHIBIT E: Fairmount Park System
- EXHIBIT F: Fairmount Park Map
- EXHIBIT G: Mayor Nutter’s Remarks from Indoor Feeding Policy Announcement
- EXHIBIT H: The PR Campaign
- EXHIBIT I: Dept. Parks and Recreation Outdoor Feeding Regulation
- EXHIBIT J: Dept. Parks and Rec. Amended Outdoor Feeding Regulations
- EXHIBIT K: Dept. of Health Memo on Outdoor Serving of Food with Comments