MARCAVAGE v. CITY OF CHICAGO
MICHAEL MARCAVAGE, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Nos. 09-3335, 09-4079
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued November 4, 2010.
Decided October 4, 2011.
Before BAUER, MANION and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
BAUER, Circuit Judge.
"Attendees and supporters of the Games were allowed on the sidewalks because they had a particular purpose being there, namely, to access the venues reserved for their activities and to sell souvenirs. These purposes are entirely distinguishable from the plaintiffs' efforts to disrupt the events by protesting along the main thoroughfares of the Games."
"disrupt"? Their actions don't sound disruptive. In addition, if vendors selling souvenirs were every bit as much standing in the flow of pedestrians and if people stopped to transact business/sales and did so in no less a "restrictive" manner than those stopping to interact with those calling themselves Christians, then it is prima fascia that the Christians were discriminated against for content, as the vendors were also dealing in content but not asked to move or keep moving and then arrested for not moving to where they could not sell their products very easily at all, if at all. The opinion/decision is not well-reasoned or well-founded.
We hold that a reasonable factfinder could not in good conscience find that the plaintiffs were similarly-situated to other users of the sidewalks. Since there is no reliable evidence that there were other protestors who were treated differently, the district court appropriately granted summary judgment on the Equal Protection claims.
This view is claiming that only other protesters are apples-to-apples and that all non-protesters are as oranges to the apples of the Christians. However, a proper understanding of the Bill of Rights necessitates that the comparison be citizen-to-citizen and definitely not protester-to-protester. The decision is clearly discriminatory on account of political and religious speech and activity, including versus commercial activity.
Religious speech and activity under this ruling are relegated to a lesser protected position vis-a-vis the commercial activity of the vendors and possibly other activities of a non-commercial and non-religious / non-Christian-proselytizing nature.
Hawking goods is more protected than "marketing" the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Let me say that the distance that the Plaintiffs were asked to move is highly relevant. If the Plaintiffs were asked to move a very short distance and not completely away from the edge of the flow of pedestrians but refused to move out from the center of that flow, especially on a busy corner where pedestrians stop, wait, and then all begin to cross the street upon a green light, then the Plaintiffs were in the wrong at least in that instance/street-corner location.
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)