County officials in Pennsylvania are causing outrage after they threatened members of a Christian group with jail time if they continue to serve meals the homeless and elderly.
Isaiah 61 Ministries, a nonprofit Christian ministry that has been serving homeless and elderly people in Harrisburg, Pa., for more than five years, was told by Dauphin county officials that they were violated city ordinances with their publicly held charitable acts occurring on county property.
Isaiah 61 Ministries is being represented by the Liberty Institute who sent a letter on Monday to Dauphin County commissioners threatening the Christian ministry for utilizing public property while threatening jail time to those who would continue to help those in need on county property.
"Serving the homeless and elderly is a central tenet of the Christian faith," Jeremy Dys, a Liberty Institute attorney, said in a statement. "Those who exercise their faith by caring for the poor on the streets of Harrisburg ought to be applauded for their kindness, not threatened with jail time."
The Liberty Institute contends that Dauphin County officials are violating the First Amendment rights of the participants as well as Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act.
The charity maintains that it is only asking to be able to continue to help and assist those in need.
"All too often, our leaders lose sight of our core liberties. We need more freedom to fix the problems around us, not more government control that simply gets in the way," Randall Wenger, counsel for the Independence Law Center, told NorthCentralPA.com.
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group that prides itself on protecting and maintaining religious liberty in America will working to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of the nation's Founding Fathers.