According to Democracy Now!, January 9, 2008:
Here in New York, peace activists are claiming victory in a more than three-year dispute with the city over an ordinance limiting the size of mass gatherings on the Great Lawn in Central Park. The National Council of Arab Americans and the Answer Coalition sued the city after they were blocked from holding an anti-war demonstration on the Great Lawn during the Republican National Convention in August 2004. Under a new settlement, the city says it will increase the cap on crowd size from fifty-thousand to seventy-thousand people. The city will also conduct a study on whether the maximum size can be further increased.
According to USCourts:
The First Amendment protects freedom of assembly. Protests, parades, and other large gatherings are important means for individuals to express their ideas and their unity behind these ideas. While the Constitution protects the right to assemble, it adds an important caveat–the assembly must be peaceful. Historically, many assemblies quickly turned into riots, and, thus, were dispersed by the authorities. For this reason, the Supreme Court has ruled that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions might be imposed on the right to assemble.
The First Amendment (1791) states the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
It says, "...shall make no law respecting...the right of the people peaceably to assemble...."
Above, the USCourts website states, "the Supreme Court has ruled that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions might be imposed on the right to assemble."
However, a correct reading of the Amendment, contrary to the position of the U.S. Supreme Court, is that any law respecting the time, place, and manner of the right of the people peaceably to assemble is unconstitutional. If it's peaceful, the people may assemble any time, place, or in any manner on open public property or on the private property of anyone who agrees to the assembly. Peaceably means in a manner not disturbing the peace. It means primarily non-violently. The term "peace" is to be defined under the reasonableness doctrine. Also, public property may not be closed for the purpose of abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble. This is an issue of competing rights under the mundane law.
Under the divine law, no one disturbs the real peace, as Jesus lived it. All voluntarily keep the peace.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)