The PJ Tatler

Question About Prayer has Food Pantry Cut Off from USDA Food


Todd Young, a Republican congressman serving Indiana’s 9th District, has contacted state officials regarding Community Provisions of Jackson County, a food pantry in Seymour whose director, Paul Brock, insists he will not stop asking clients if they want to pray with him or one of its 45 volunteers when they receive food.

“It certainly appears there is a misinterpretation of some rules,” Young’s spokesman, Trevor Foughty, told “We want to make sure that no one is being denied the public assistance that they need.”

Brock told that he never requires anyone to pray in order to receive nourishment they need.

“We ask them if they want to pray with us; if they say no, then we just let them go on through,” Brock said. “We’re not a church. My job is to feed them and if I can pat them on the back and pray for them and lift them up somehow, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Note, he’s not forcing them to pray, or even sit through a community prayer, he’s asking them, individually, if they’d like to pray. That really doesn’t seem that bad to me, especially given this:

“What we have seen other faith-based food pantries do is to provide signage, have brochures, have prayer cards or have a separate prayer room,” [food bank spokesperson Carrie] Fulbright said.

Okay, so a sign, or brochures, or cards are okay, but a simple verbal question is not? What about those that are illiterate, or perhaps visually impaired? Seem to me that if one format of a friendly offer to pray with the person is acceptable, then all  reasonable methods of offering it should be.

Overall, I think we’ve become way too uptight about things like this in this great nation of ours, and it’s high time we loosened up a little bit. A friendly pat on the back and offer to pray shouldn’t cause this sort of response.

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