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Texas Woman Claims It’s Her ‘Religious Freedom’ To Be Able To Feed The Homeless Even If It’s Illegal

In recent days, spurred by the passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Law, the term “religious freedom” has come to mean discrimination against gay people.

Of course, Indiana isn’t the only state with such a law but its law is the most extreme. Texas has its own version and, in a twist sure to confuse conservatives, a woman who believes that her religion guides her to help people, not discriminate against them, is citing the law to protect her right to feed the homeless.

Joan Cheever has been feeding the homeless every week since 2005 in a San Antonio park from her non-profit food truck. For the first time, she was ticketed last week by four bike-patrol officers.

There was nothing unusual about last Tuesday. She always feeds between 25 and 75 people from her truck, but on that particular day she was stopped and the ticket said she needed a permit.

“They said because what you’re doing is illegal, and it’s against the city ordinance,” Cheever told News 4 San Antonio.

Cheever tells News 4 San Antonio the officer told her if she wanted to feed the homeless she’d have to bring her food truck to the park. Cheever, who has a certified food manager certificate, had packed the hot meals in a regular pick-up truck. “And I said restaurants deliver take out delivery.”

“One of the police officers said, ‘Ma’am, if you want to pray, go to church,’ And I said, ‘This is how I pray. When I cook this food and deliver it to the people who are less fortunate,” Cheever went on to say.

The ticket is hefty too. At its max, it could cost her $2,000. Court is still a couple of months away but her argument will be that by feeding the homeless, she is practicing her own religious beliefs, which are protected, she says, under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Law.\

Wendy Gittleson, Addicting Info

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