A Louisiana church was approached on the roadside by the annual Mardi Gras Parade and told to stop handing out free bottles of water without a permit.
Matt Tipton, pastor of Hope Church told the press,
“We were given a cease and desist order. We had no idea we were breaking the law.”
Tipton said volunteers from his church were standing along the parade route handing out bottles of water and free coffee and were cited by Jefferson Parish officials for failure to be licensed and not registering to pay sales tax.
“It kind of threw me for a loop because they weren’t in uniform. But once they pulled the ticket out, I was convinced.”
“We apologized,” Tipton said. “We didn’t know the rules.”
The church had purchased more than 500 bottles of water for the event. The bottles had the church’s name and website printed on the side. They gave what was left to a local drug rehab center.
Ken Klukowski, a senior legal fellow at the Family Research Council, said the citation was absurd.
“This is a perfect example of why so many people have a problem with big government,” Klukowski said. “The idea that a church needs a permit to hand out water to thirsty people is unfortunate.”
This goes along part and parcel with the recent spate of ten year olds who are cited for opening lemonade stands on their front lawns.
What do you think? Do you think a church should have to get permits and register for sales tax in order to hand out free water to thirsty community members?