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City Tells Woman She Cannot Hand Out Water On Hot Day

August 22, 2012 by  

City Tells Woman She Cannot Hand Out Water On Hot Day
A woman in Phoenix was told she would need a permit to give out water on a hot day.

The City of Phoenix could face a lawsuit after a city worker told a woman she could not hand out free water. Lawyers say that, under the 1st and 14th amendments, Dana Crow-Smith should have been able to give water to thirsty citizens.

Crow-Smith was handing out free water last month in Phoenix when she was told she was violating city code and would need a permit in order to continue. She was threatened with a citation.

“It was really hot and yeah we wanted to show God’s love and a small act of kindness is a great way to do that without shoving it down someone’s throat,” Crow-Smith said.

The Rutherford Institute is representing Crow-Smith, believing that the city violated “Crow-Smith’s First Amendment right to freely exercise her religion, her Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, as well as Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act.”

The Rutherford Institute wants the city apologize to Crow-Smith and state that she is allowed to distribute water in the future. If the city does not comply, The Rutherford Institute says that a lawsuit will ensue.

“But I don’t think it’s even about religious beliefs. I think anybody should be able to giveaway water on the sidewalk to anybody. It’s hot and it’s a nice thing to do,” Crow-Smith said.

John W. Whitehead, the president of The Rutherford Institute agreed: “It is a sad day when local government officials prohibit Americans from such charitable acts as giving water to the thirsty in their city.”

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • Harold Olsen

    This has been happening more and more since Obama has taken office, punishing private citizens and Christian organizations for doing charitable work. Obama and his regime demand that people who need charity should get it from the government not from their churches or from good Samaritans. He wants to punish anyone who violates that, proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished. It’ll get worse now that Congress has betrayed us and helped Obama to increase his dictatorial powers. Be careful the next time some homeless person comes up to you and asks you for some spare change. If you give it to him you could end up getting a citation or being arrested.

    • Vicki

      I am not exactly one of obamas cheerleaders but what did obama do (or not do) to cause this particular incident?

      • http://http// sophillyjimmy

        Vicki, can’t you see what has been going on since Obama has been president?
        He is testing the Constitution to see how much he could get away with violating our rights as freedom loving American’s. He has mayors such as Bloomberg, and Manuel using their cities as litmus tests to see how much We The People will tolerate with Bloombergs fining people who have more then 32 ounce cups of soda, and Bloomberg, Manuel of Chicago and Mayor Menino of Boston all denying Chick-fil-a permits to open restaurants in all of the above cities which is all blatant violations of the Constitution and without any reservations to do so.
        Obama is a Communist and he is infiltrating America from within to change our form of government from a Democracy to a Communist government. He started like all Communist govrnments do, by destroying our economy, our deficit more then doubled in the 3 and 3/4 years Obama has been in office, now he is attacking more in local laws such as this good samaritan woman giving out water to thirsty people, and in Chester, Pa. the local authorities stopped a woman from giving free lunches to poor children who’s families don’t have the money to afford to provide their children with money or food for lunch. He wants We The People to come to the government for our basic needs, that is why he is so anti business, he wants us to ask the government for social programs such as welfare and food stamps.
        These are all prime examples of government control of the people. I hope you now know what Obama has to do with local issues as well as federal issues.

      • Chester

        sophillyjimmy, This was going on long before Obama came into office, and will be going on long after he is dead and gone. The city fathers think they have the right to control all actions on or in a public area, regardless if you are handing stuff out or selling something. Seems you almost need a permit to lay on the grass in a city park.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        Vicki, it is not what he did directly but rather the influence of the feds making the states, counties, and cities bolder in doing these things.

        Chester, he implied this had started before obama and said it had gotten worse under him.

      • eddie47d

        I swear Obama did it and he must have been there and it can’t be for any other reason! It’s a local city issues so how many times have we heard that story? Paul Ryan came to our state last week and I swear all the corn crops died because of his visit. It has to be the reason!!! It must be true!!! LOL! LOL!

      • Vicki

        Just keep in mind if we always blame obama we will start sounding like liberals always blaming President Bush.

    • Vigilant

      As usual, Mr. Nash fails to furnish the whol;e story.


      “A Phoenix “Neighborhood Preservation Inspector” inspector came into contact with Crow-Smith because she was distributing religious materials and the water from private property on the corner of 1st Street and Roosevelt, which was not her private property.

      “At no time did the city attempt to limit in any way Ms. Crow-Smith’s communication of religious beliefs,” the document says. “Staff explained that water or food could not be given away unless they had a mobile vending license, which other vendors at the event have obtained.”

      The city’s document continues to explain that Crow-Smith wasn’t even cited — she was informed of the code, and the city said she agreed to stop handing out water. However Later that night, city staff found Crow-Smith on private property again, and giving out water, again.

      This seems less a case of religious persecution than a case of a Christian feeling that doing “Gods work” put’s them above the law.”

      • RivahMitch

        Your “facts” are missing relevant information: (i) whether it was her private property or not, did she have the owners permission to be there, and (ii) since she’s not selling anything, it’s not self-evident that requiring her to adhere to the requirements for “other vendors” (normally “vendors” are sellers of goods or services) is at all appropriate. Oh, and concerning what are you “Vigilant”?

      • http://http// sophillyjimmy

        Vigilant, is goes way beyond religion, it goes to the heart of Obama’s forcing minor laws on people to see how far the government could go before We The People revolt. He is following the Communist plan to overthrough our Democracy first by destroying our economy which he has already did in his first 3 and 3/4 years in office, he has violated the Constitution numerous times with not retaliation from any of our elected officials now he has his lackies in the local municipalities such as Bloomberg testing the people of NYC with his fining them if they are caught with more the 32 ounces of soda, while consuming 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor to be ok. He has mayors such as Bloomberg, Manuel of Chicago and Menino of Boston refusing to give permits to Chick-fil-a to do business in their cities, so where this good smaritan is getting water to give to thirsty people during this heat wave we have had for some time now it is just testing our willingness to follow the government like sheep and it is all going to come down to he eventual abolishment of the most sacred government document in the world which is the Constitution, which gives us our freedoms like no other country in the world has, and shyte if anyone will take my freedoms away from me without a fight. I was born free and I would rather die fighting to keep my freedoms rather then to live without them.

      • Randy131

        VEND vt. – to sell as an occupation; to be employed in ‘selling’ – VEND’ER,VEND’OR n.

        And what is the reason for a ‘Vending License’, to tax those involved in commerce so the government can obtain their share of the business venture? Does the City of Phoenix’s Law also require philanthropists, who are involved in selling nothing, to acquire a ‘Mobile Vending License’?

        PHI-LAN’THROPY n. – charity or benevolence for the good of others; a humanitarian endeavor – PHIL-AN-THROP’IC, PHIL-AN-THROP’I-CAL adj. – PHIL-AN-THROP’I-CAL-LY adv. – PHI-LAN’THRO-PIST n.

        By restricting and ceasing Ms. Crow-Smith’s ‘Christian Philanthropy’, they have violated her ‘communication of religious beliefs’ through example of action. Just why is it that you seem not to understand the violation of Ms. Crow-Smith’s 1st and 14th Amendments, since she was definately not involved in any type of vending?

      • Big Woody

        Vigilant, as usual is rationalizing to justify his out of touch point of view. And as usual is full of crap.

      • Vigilant

        Big Woody, I’m rationalizing nothing. You might want to avail yourself of a good dictionary to discover the meaning of the word “rationalize.” I reported and sourced a document, nothing else.

      • vigilant1946

        RivahMitch says, “Your “facts” are missing relevant information.”

        No sir, it’s Brian Nash who fails to report “relevant information.” The concerns you mention are exactly what I’m talking about. Brian Nash needs to take a remedial course in journalism. He always attempts tp provoke discussion while leaving out relevant facts. It’s intellectually dishonest, shoddy journalism and pure provocateurship when he does this.

        He knows that 99% of the respondents here will not take the time to research the whole story, but will jump on their horse and ride off in 4 different directions. Then idiots like Big Woody will take potshots at the messenger when relevant facts are disclosed.

      • Karolyn

        You did it again, Vig. I should know enough not to post before researching some of these sensationalistic stories. Thanks! This is what so many writers do, and I used to think that PLD was above using the tactic, but I guess I’m wrong. Bob’s gang is just like all the other rabble-rousers, but I wouldn’t say the same for him. These writers just love to keep the hate going.

      • vigilant1946

        sophillyjimmy says, “Vigilant, is goes way beyond religion, it goes to the heart of Obama’s forcing minor laws on people to see how far the government could go before We The People revolt.”

        I submit that this has nothing to do with Obama, with the exception that his dictatorial actions have emboldened city council and lower functionary idiots to exert their power.

        These kinds of ordinances and laws have been around for decades. And these kinds of warnings, injunctions and fines have been around for just as long. What you’re seeing now is sudden publicity of these things, which occur by the hundreds each year in towns across America. It’s ludicrous to assume that Obama takes a personal interest in the machinations of every city council or homeowner’s association.

        Do I think the city may have overstepped its bounds? Unlikely, since no official citation was ever issued. Do I think this particular vendor law is unjust? Not having all the relevant information, I wouldn’t know. Do I think that Brian Nash has left out information which would facilitate a more balanced discussion? Most definitely.

      • JJM123

        So then any complaint should be issued by the Property Owner or by anyone Damaged by her water. Perhaps a license should be required for give-aways when they support possible Commercial gain. You neglect the fact that all stages of Government have become too Large and too Controlling.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        The woman who was giving out the water may have been doing a good thing but I question her motives for doing the good thing. Even good things can be done for the wrong motives. Her assumption is that people are too helpless to get their own water.

    • DAK

      Oh get off the Obama bashing train. Everything bad that happens in this country isn’t Obama’s fault, the same as everything good isn’t because of Romney. If President Obama brought about world peace, you’d complain because of all the defense workers he put out of a job. (Never mind he saved the USA how much on defense spending…)

      • Karolyn

        It would not matter what he did. They would find fault. They will never admit they are wrong.

      • swampfox

        Saved the USA???
        ha ha ha ha har har ha ha ha ha,
        that was a joke right?
        my god you can’t beleive that!

      • DAK

        swampfox says:
        August 23, 2012 at 12:00 am
        Saved the USA???
        ha ha ha ha har har ha ha ha ha,
        that was a joke right?
        my god you can’t beleive that!


        You either cannot read, cannot understand what you do read, or are just dense.

  • Vicki

    I think that civil disobedience is in order there. Everyone of any religion should collect in mass in Phoenix and pass out water to just anyone there. Including each other. Imagine the fun of having the government lawyer explain how it is against some ordnance to give water to someone who has water.




  • waltinseattle

    thou shall NOT help thy neighbor. this shall be the whole of the law. ?????

    • Pamela33168

      This is the very State that McCain is from!!! Do you not see that? Arizona, especially the Phoenix area is a Militant State. They jail people on a regular basis for failure to pay traffic tickets and put them in the Beloved Sheriff Joe tents. How can you all support that crap and than now hate on it? EXPLAIN

      • Bill

        I really wanted to respond, but now, I can’t think of any responce to such a moroni, idiotic post from you

  • Chris

    Just “another” example of Government “meddling” and sticking it’s nose where it don’t belong. I’m waiting for them to tell us what style of clothes we’re allowed to wear.

    • Chester

      Chris, hate to tell you this, but you are more than a little late with that concern. Several cities have passed ordinances against wearing pants with the waistband lower than the top of the buttocks. A desirable situation as far as most folk are concerned, yup, but again, perhaps sticking their noses where they don’t belong.

    • Big Woody

      Hitler did just that. His government forbade women from wearing slacks or pants. Required them to wear skirts or dresses.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Donna

    the only thing I see as an issue is, did she have permission to use private property to distribute the water from? Was this the only place she could have used? The opinion from the property owner is what is necessary here. What say you property owner? Was it ok for her to hand out water on your property? Were you the one that reported her? An inquiring people want to know.

    • Big Woody

      Does this property owner otherwise make this property available for public use (no fences or signs)? If not restricted, ownership and permission are not an issue.

      • Steve

        What do you mean no sign no issue? You don’t need a sign up to keep people from coming on your property.

  • Karolyn

    Power-hungry bureaucrats, plain and simple! Sure glad I don’t live there

    • Freedom From Gov’t

      Karolyn although you may not be in that physical location, it is very plausible that when we allow injustice of one American we open ourselves up for further injustice. I agree definetly testing the backs of America’s resolve of civil liberties.

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  • 45caliber

    The Phoenix City Commissioners have again attacked a religious activity. I wonder if it is religion-driven or the fact that they want people to buy licenses.

  • libertarian58

    Codes, permits, citations, excessive statutory laws, all based on the first plank of the Communist Manifesto and contrary to liberty and common law (victim, damage, injury), all put in place by lawyers and politicians claiming to “protect” you. This goes on in EVERY municipality in the country. See how communist we have become at every level of government.

  • Benjamin Fox

    Show me your papers, slave !!!!

  • tom

    i understand it when the city wants you to have a permit to run a business,but for free ,people start fighting back and they will be afraid of us,thats what we did her in muncie,we got our taxes lowered because i became active in a downtown march,thankyou,all who joined the way its in the indiana constiution that we have that right.fight if you want change,it worked here.

  • Berl

    Most likely the city got a complaint from one of those official vendors because she was taking away their business with the free water.

  • Joe Renna

    Instead of insulting a person with facts why not communicate facts of your own to challenge your opponent. Calling someone names in lieu of real facts shows how little a person knows. If all you can muster is a derogatory paragraph without true facts then you’ve joined the “League of Extraordinary Fools”. Unless of course you’re planning to make a career in politics then you are on your way.

    I’m amazed at how little people read and understand U.S. law and history. If you still believe that President Obama is looking out for you then it’s apparent you’re getting your news and information from television comedians and Dan Rather type news personalities.

    Try using your phone to read the constitution instead of reading comic books. Adults get tired of the immature ravings of children who have the experience level of a blueberry. Work your career for 20 or more years, watch real news, read hard cover books, and “gain a little knowledge” before you battle. Most of us are tired of doing battle with mentally unarmed children.

  • charliep

    I am going to elect to cite some scripture here that commands us to give drink to the thirsty and much more. Read Matthew 25:32-46: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations; and He will separate them from one another, as the
    shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And indeed He will set the sheep off His right, but the goats off the left hand. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, Come, the blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I hungered, and you gave Me food to eat; I thirsted, and you gave
    Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was
    sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. 37 Then the righteous will answer, saying, Master when did we see you hungry, and fed You; or thirsting, and
    gave You drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and took You in; or naked,
    and clothed You? 39 And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came to You?
    40 And answering, the King will say to them, Truly I say to you, In so far as you did it to one of these, the least of My brothers, you did it to Me. 41 Then He will also say to those on His left, Go away from Me, cursed ones, into the everlasting fire having been prepared for the Devil and his cherubs. 42 For I hungered, and you did not give Me a thing to eat. I thirsted and you did not give Me a thing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not
    take Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
    44 Then they also will answer Him,saying, Master, when did we see You hungering, or thirsting, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?
    45 Then He will answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, in so far as you did not do it to one of these, the least, neither did you do it to Me.
    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.

    Seem clear to me that we have an obligation to adhere to the tenets espoused here. And most importantly this lady giving away water to the thirsty was adhering to those principles taught here. On judgment day she can answer with a hardy yea when asked when I thirst did you give me drink. That will be a Star or Feather in her cap.

    The city over stepped their boundaries and suspect that they will correct their failings.

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