DOJ sides with Christian group punished for feeding homeless
The D-O-J is backing a Christian non-profit in its land use dispute with the Southern Californian city of Santa Ana.
The dispute centers around the nonprofit handing out food and drinks to homeless people.
Back in 20-21 — the city warned Micah’s Way that providing food and beverages out of its resource center was in violation of the municipal code.
The non-profit was told to get a certificate of occupancy.
The city then denied Micah’s Way’s application on the basis of zoning restrictions.
Micah’s way ended up suing the city — claiming it infringed on the nonprofit’s right to religious exercise.
This week — the D-O-J filed a statement of interest siding with Micah’s Way.
Quote — “Religious groups should be entitled to exercise their religion by providing charitable services based in their religious beliefs. Our office firmly opposes actions that block religious groups from carrying out their spiritual mission to help others in need.”
The city of Santa Ana has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit — arguing that giving food to the homeless was not a religious activity but quote “merely an incidental use of minor significance.”
A hearing on the motion to dismiss is set for next month.