An official from the Florida Department of Agriculture recently informed a ministry that distributes food to the poor that they would no longer be able to receive USDA food unless they removed religious portraits of Christ and the Ten Commandments, and a banner that read “Jesus is Lord.”
“They told us they could no longer allow us to have any religious information where the USDA food is going to be,” said Kay Daly, the executive director of the Christian Service Center.
The agency claims it is just following along with USDA guidelines.
“This program is a USDA-funded program and the requirements were outlined by the USDA,” said Agriculture Department spokesperson Amanda Bevis. “This agency administers the program on the state level. Our staff did provide a briefing to CSC following turnover in leadership at CSC and did review the USDA requirements.”
It basically comes down to the separation of church and state. “Under current law, organizations that receive USDA nutrition assistance can still engage in religious activities so long as the activity is not used to create a barrier to eligible individuals receiving food,” according to a USDA spokesperson.
The Christian Service Center has been providing food to hungry people for the past 31 years. When faced with the decision of removing the religious information or losing the USDA food, there was really only one choice, Fox News reported.
“We decided to eliminate the USDA food and we’re going to trust God to provide,” Daly said. “If God can multiply fish and loaves for 10,000 people, he can certainly bring in food for our food pantry so we can continue to feed the hungry. We are a Christian ministry. Our purpose is to help people in need and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are going to pray with them. We are going to offer them a Bible. We are going to counsel them in Christian help. We are going to use our chapel.”