Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christian Coalition asks Senate to block Patriot Act

Strange bedfellows:

The Christian Defense Coalition Director says in many cases "national security" has become more important than protecting the First Amendment and civil liberties.

Coalition especially concerned about the Patriot Act defining terrorism as "... .to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion."

Those definitions are so broad it is an open invitation for the government to harass and attack any groups who use public demonstrations or peaceful civil disobedience to "influence" government policy.

Organization cites the improper use of the federal RICO laws against non-violent pro-life activists as a clear example of how the Patriot Act could be used against a broad spectrum of political and social activist groups.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, comments, "It is our hope that the Senate will block passage of the renewal of the Patriot Act and craft legislation that will more carefully protect and safeguard civil liberties and the First Amendment. Sadly with the passage of the Patriot Act, a climate and culture has been created in which 'national security' has become more important than protecting civil liberties. The result has been the First Amendment has become the 'second victim' of 9/11 and the rights of peaceful demonstrators trampled. For example, in the name of 'national security' I was arrested on a public sidewalk at the Salt Lake Olympics for holding a sign which said God bless America. And for the sake of 'national security', I was arrested on a Washington, D.C. public sidewalk for holding a sign of the Ten Commandments in front of St. Matthew's Cathedral during the annual Red Mass."

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