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Christian cites religious rights in lawsuit against Houston's ban on feeding homeless

Philip Bryant, who describes himself as a devout Christian, keeps tuna cans and bottles of water in his car to give to homeless people he sees on the streets, according to the Houston Chronicle.

However, this could be a direct violation of the city's charitable feeding ordinance, passed in 2012, which requires individuals to obtain permission from property owners - public or private, when feeding more than five people. Violating the ordinance is considered a criminal offense and carries a fine of up to $2,000.

Bryant has filed a lawsuit in Harris County court challenging the ordinance claiming it violates his rights as a Christian.

His attorney, Randall Kallinen said: "In the Bible, it's mentioned repetitively feeding the poor, so certainly someone who would be following the teachings of Jesus Christ would say I should be feeding the homeless."

Houston's charitable feeding ordinance has sparked controversy since its introduction. While the city describes the ordinance as a way to uphold food safety and protect the rights of private property owners, some homeless advocates view it as a way to regulate the tradition of charity.

Bryant argued in his lawsuit that the ordinance: "regulates a natural expression of human compassion."

The city encourages those who wish to feed the homeless to register as a food service organization and receive food safety training.

Bryant has started a petition to try and gain support for the city to rescind the homeless feeding-ban.

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