Just days after the “Great Flood” ravaged parts of Louisiana this month, the largest natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, an estimated 60,646 houses were damaged and 122,000 people looked for assistance. Already, FEMA has cleared $205 million to support victims.
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Besides financial aid, food and shelter, in this time of need Captain Clay Higgins, Deputy Marshal for the City of Lafayette said his fellow residents needed prayer.
“It’s a hard time. To be prayerful and uplifting for your fellow man that’s part of the American spirit” Higgins told FOXBusiness.com
"If the government gets out the way Americans can handle their business."
However, after walking through a Red Cross shelter filled with flood victims in Lafayette, he was asked to leave and escorted out by volunteers. Higgins, who was in uniform and holding a bible during his visit to the shelter, responded with a video on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) that went viral.
“I had many heartfelt conversations, and hugs with folks there, and you know, we shared some tears together … I was told that the Red Cross doesn’t allow that. They don’t allow just a person to offer prayer in that matter” Higgins said.
In response, Jono Anzalone, Red Cross External Relations Lead for LA Flood Operation, spoke to FOXBusiness.com.
"You cannot go cot to cot giving out Bibles or Korans or Torrahs"
"We are comfortable in saying that if the sheriff would have approached us to ask us to find a way to administer prayer to the shelter and its residents, we would have. We have been doing this for 130 years, we create safe spaces not do damage to a particular faith." Anzalone said.
The Red Cross, rooted in history dating back to 1859 was set up to give "neutral" aid to victims of war, no matter what country or background.
"You cannot self invite yourself to shelter. You cannot go cot to cot giving out Bibles or Korans or Torrahs" Anzalone said.
The Red Cross also explained if a victim would like to speak with a spiritual adviser its workers are happy to facilitate that dialogue.
In accordance with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the Red Cross looks to “provide appropriate and respectful disaster spiritual care.”
Higgins who is running for Congress said this is an example of what the nation needs right now.
“If you have to deal with bureaucracies and ridiculous red tape and restrictions from the government, we are sorta restricted from how we can respond freely" he said.
Be sure to watch the full interview with Captain Higgins at the top of the page.