A Christian church in Delaware, U.S. is being threatened with hefty fines because it has provided housing to a young mother with physical disability.
The Victory Church near Rover is facing a fine of $100 a day after it bought a recreational vehicle (RV) for 21-year-old blind mother Alexis Simms, who is also suffering from lupus.
Simms now lives with her mother and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter inside the vehicle, which is parked on church property behind the building.
Victory Church Pastor Aaron Appling, who advocates helping the homeless, said he and his church members decided to help Simms and her family because of their Christian faith.
"We want to stand up for her, because there is nobody else to stand up for her," Appling said, as quoted by RT.com.
In helping out the homeless, the church ironically finds itself facing problems with its neighbours and even the Kent County government. The county levy court has already issued a notice to the church, telling it to comply with the county zoning codes or receive fines of $100 a day, up to $1,000.
The problem stems from the fact that the land where the RV is parked now is classified as an agricultural residential district. Kia Evans, a county spokeswoman, explained that such type of land can only be used for other purposes if approved by the county.
"It is possible to create a commercial recreational campground at the property with the proper approvals. The purpose of the approvals is to ensure that the health and safety of occupants of the campground, neighbors, and the public at large, is covered," Evans said.
Pastor Appling said he is willing to follow the county's zoning requirements. However, he said getting approvals will cost at least $100,000 to pay for engineering requirements, attorney fees and others.
"Part of our religious belief and faith is to help the poor. They're punishing us for doing what we feel we're commanded to do according to our faith," Appling said.