Friday, November 13, 2009

Judge Orders Phoenix Church to Stop Feeding the Poor

Here's another example of stupidity, as if you needed one.

 According to Huffington Post a "Judge" ordered a Phoenix Church to stop feeding the poor and homeless, because, get this, when you feed the poor and homeless, the wrong element come into your neighborhood.

 An Arizona news article discussing the decision is here:

The Judge  a retired former Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court is Robert Corcoran, who is sitting as a City of Phoenix zoning board hearing officer.  His opinion is here:'s%20Decision%2011-9-09.pdf

Judge Corcoran, in addition to being a former Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court served as an appellate Judge and  as a Judge of the Superior Court in Maricopa County, Az.  Maricopa County is, of course, that huge county in southwest Arizona made famous by Sheriff Joe Arpaio a notorious throwback to Bull Connor.

Whenever I encounter a story like this--I bear in mind,  the beatitudes, especially: blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.  This is a Judge who has satisfied us all by betraying official heartlessness and cluelessness;  and may his outrageousness generate an outpouring of care, mercy, and love.


  1. He does have a point, though, about bringing in a bad element into the neighborhood. Nice is nice, but nice & beaten with my car stolen is not nice.

  2. This is one sad, Judge. This is how to trash your rep in one fell swoop!

  3. No, the judge is wrong. And his ruling should be promptly appealed or ignored. Morally, his bankruptcy is obvious. From a purely legal perspective, his finding of causation is specious.

  4. They were running a shelter next to a preschool. It doesn't fit. That's why you have zoning laws.

    The church was offered a partnership to continue its ministry in a zone suited for it but turned it down, on the basis that as a church they weren't subject to the law. If a conservative church started organizing large and disruptive anti-gay activities in a residential neighborhood the religious arugment would be a lot less attractive. But without that what argument do they have? It's OK for us to break the law because what we are doing is good. That's no law at all, no matter how strong the moral obligation to feed the poor.

    Also, you go up Central Avenue and some of the the neighborhoods start getting pretty marginal. This church might be in a neighborhhod where they don't have much of a cushion to absorb a population with a relatively high percentage of substance abusers and people with criminal records. My guess is that most of the people reflexively calling this Judge an immoral creep come from areas better off than the one the residents are trying to protect here by invoking a pretty clear and reasonable law of general application.

  5. I could be wrong, but from the name of the preschool (crossroads) it sounds like the church runs the preschool as well.

    And, they were not running a shelter. They had a free pancake breakfast on Saturdays. That is far cry from a shelter.

  6. And of course, being hungry makes you a criminal. Right.