Judge tells Oregon city it was wrong to block a church from giving meals to the homeless

A federal judge has ruled that a southern Oregon city cannot ban church meals for the homeless.

United States Judge Mark Clarke found that the law passed by the small city of Brookings, south of the Oregon coast, violated the religious rights of the Episcopal Church of St. KGW also reported. He gave his opinion on Wednesday.

The 2021 law limited the church’s meals to two days a week, and required a license to provide free meals in residential areas. It was issued in response to residential complaints.

The church sued the city in 2022, they claim that the law violates their right to worship freely.

KGW reported that Pastor Bernie Lindley of the church said that feeding people is proof of what they believe.

“This is how we show our faith: by taking care of the people on the beach, especially those who are hungry,” said Lindley.

Attorneys for the city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The church has provided free meals since 2009, according to KGW. During the pandemic, he increased the food service to six a week, which led to complaints.

In his ruling, Clarke said the city did not provide a sufficient reason for restricting the days when the church can offer free meals.

But the church’s legal battles are not over. KGW said that the city is asking the church to stop the bathing and public promotion activities, which the church has requested.

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