A Message To The Church:
COVID19 Restrictions and Freedom of Religion
By KrisAnne Hall, JD
A bloody path was trod to bring religious freedom to modern America. Christian martyrs and patriots secured our God-given right to Freedom of Religion with their suffering and even with their lives. Religious freedom in America is not simply a fundamental right but a foundational one. The settlements of the first American colonies were established in the flight from oppressive religious persecution and the struggle continued even on these shores. From the beating of Obadiah Holmes, the lynching of Quakers and the imprisonment of 50 Baptist preachers who were defended by a fiery attorney named Patrick Henry, religious liberty in America has been something Christians have always been willing to stand for or even to die for. This history and more gave us our First Amendment to the Constitution and its underlying principle of religious conscience which has been part of the bedrock of our Republic for more than two centuries.
The “Father of the Constitution” and fourth President James Madison wrote in 1792,
“Conscience is the most sacred of all property…the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right. To guard a man's house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man's conscience which is more sacred than his castle…”
Indeed prohibitions upon the government’s authority to infringe, limit, or dictate the operation of the church have been codified in western law long before the settlement of American colonies. Many American Christians have heard of Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptists ensuring them that America would never return to a time where the government sought to dictate the operations of the church. But long before 1802, Jefferson’s “wall of separation of church and state” that kept government outside the sacred walls of the church was one alluded to by King Henry I in the 1100 Charter of Liberties. Henry declared the body of the church to be free from government intrusions. Two-hundred years later, one of the tipping points in the fight that brought us Magna Carta was the crown’s attempt to interfere in the free operation of the church. This charter history of our founding documents continued its development through the Grand Remonstrance of 1641 and the English Bill of Rights of 1689 under which our founders arrived in this New World. Each of these installments, which would later culminate in our founding documents; all happened amid the fight for religious liberty.
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However even with the clear language of our First Amendment and the history that should inform our actions, the struggle to maintain this essential right from the control of government continues to this day. Modern lawmakers like to carve out excuses and causes for government intrusions into our inherent rights when some imagined need arises. William Pitt, The Younger warned in 1783, “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.” Necessity seems to always be the most powerful tool to persuade the masses into accepting these infringements. Today because of the coronavirus scare, religious liberty is facing a huge “necessity plea” in the form of limits upon assembly. At least one church has been descended upon by police and threatened with the National Guard for having more than 250 people attend.
According to the courts, a law that infringes upon a fundamental right, like Freedom of Religion, must overcome certain challenges: The law must not be arbitrary, oppressive, or unreasonable. The law must be equally applied to secular businesses and it must satisfy a qualification of being the least restrictive means necessary to accomplish a compelling governmental interest. The restrictions imposed by Governors and municipalities upon the number of people who can assemble in a private church gathering appears to fail these tests.
First, these numerical restrictions are completely arbitrary in nature. There has been no tested nor proven scientific or medical data to show us what “number” of people that congregate together are a danger to society. The number has varied from place to place and moment by moment. Somewhere it’s 50, other places its 10 and there are still other variations. When politicians assign an “acceptable” number of people allowed in a private church, they are reducing our right to Freedom of Religion to a first come, first served privilege. Our first foundational document reads:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...”
The government deciding who can attend a service by way of a numerical limit does not demonstrate an equality of rights and ought to be seen as a per se violation of the principle of separation of church and state.
Secondly, in the current scare, these orders are not being applied equally upon secular businesses and other institutions. When arbitrary number limits are applied to a church and not to a library, post office, grocery store, or hotel gym, there is not equal application. These orders try to justify unequal application based upon the definition of “essential” services. By what authority does the government declare the church non-essential? The Church is a place where people turn for help and for comfort in a climate of fear and uncertainty. In a time of crisis, people are fearful and in need of comfort and community, more than ever before. Even people who do not attend church regularly, or perhaps never go to church, need to know that there is somewhere for them to go when they need help. Since Roman persecution of the church ended, the church has been viewed by Western civilization as an essential part of society, a refuge in time of trouble or need, a place of peace and a sanctuary for the weary, even a place of healing and provision. More salient for believers is that the Bible pointedly addresses the issue of assembling during troubled times:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Heb 10:25
Many in the church take this as a solemn command. To deny a Christian his obligation to gather with his local called out body is to put him at odds with a fundamental tenet of the faith. For a believer in Christ there are few things as essential as the gathering of the body of Christ in the study of God’s Word and worship of His Glory. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches that since we are eternal beings in this temporary world, God’s word is more essential than food.
“But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
When those in government can assign a label of non-essential to the practice of religion, then government is taking a very serious and dangerous role of defining religion, which is expressly forbidden in our Bill of Rights and in a majority of our State Constitutions.
Finally, these restrictions are not reasonable and not the least restrictive means necessary. The case law used to define reasonableness in these laws are easily distinguishable. In Moore v. Draper, the Florida Supreme Court held that Moore could be quarantined and prevented from attending church because he had Tuberculosis. The court also said that once he was healthy he could no longer be reasonably or legally quarantined and prevented from attending church. The current laws restricting the number of attendees of a church are not restrictions on one unhealthy individual. They are restrictions upon a group of healthy people from attending church. The court said that such a restriction would be unreasonable. Additionally, the court did not order the entire church to be shut down to keep Moore healthy, which is exactly what these orders are trying to suggest is a reasonable and Constitutional solution.
Limiting an entire congregation of people for the safety of those who may be at risk of infection does not meet the standard of Moore, nor can it be seen as the least restrictive means necessary. The Florida case of Varholy v. Sweat is distinguishable for the same reasons as Moore. Finally, in Employment Division vs. Smith, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a “neutral, generally applicable law” restricting use of a hallucinogenic plant was not an unreasonable interference upon freedom of religion. Because the current restrictions upon church assemblies are not generally applicable to every other place where people will congregate, Smith is not controlling and proponents of church meeting bans find it no support.
Although it is argued the “protection of the public health is one of the prime duties resting upon the State” we cannot escape the reality that the FIRST prime duty of every state is codified in the Declaration of Independence:
“…that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
There is nothing in the law or precedent to establish a blanket and arbitrary assertion of “state of emergency” as an unquestionable authority. There is nothing in law or precedent to support a restriction on the number of people who can assemble in a church, for health reasons or otherwise, as a criterion for denying the essential Right of Freedom of Religion. There is everything in history and experience that says such actions by government are unreasonable and oppressive restrictions upon the essential and inherent Right of Freedom of Religion. Rev. Jonathan Witherspoon, founder of Princeton University gave this warning:
“There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.”
When Peter and the apostles were told by law not to gather, preach, lay hands on the sick for God to grant them healing or else be thrown into prison, they chose to continue to practice their faith. After they escaped from prison and were told by God to go back and assemble with the people and preach and heal, they did exactly that. And when they were questioned by the government as to why they continued to break this law, the apostles did not hesitate or make excuse, they simply said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29) True to the history that makes America great, our pastors and church members should not so easily surrender a fundamental rights so faithfully contended for by those who have gone before. Who will stand and not let the landmarks be moved?
Learn more at KrisAnneHall.com
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Flag Burning & Free Speech
by KrisAnne Hall, JD
The flag represents “the Republic for which it stands.” That Republic is the foundation for maintaining our Union of States. The purpose for creating and maintaining the Union of States is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity.” The first principles of that Liberty are codified in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. How is it that so many people are more attached to the flag than those inalienable, God given Rights that we are supposed to be defending? How can we make it illegal to burn a flag, and sit back, day after day, as our own representatives tear through our Liberty like a whale through a net? I know from public polls and personal experience that less than 2% of Americans can name all five Liberties in the First Amendment, from memory, without looking for the answer. How can some Americans become more attached to a flag than the Liberty that America was created to protect? Perhaps it is because Americans, as a whole, have become so ignorant of their Rights that many will desperately cling to symbols instead of standing for our Liberty.
It is not a flag we fight for. It is not a flag that makes America great. It is the protection of Liberty that recognizes our Right to burn that flag that makes us different from everyone else. See what happens if you burn a flag in China, Iraq, or North Korea. Is that really the model we are striving toward?
Sure it’s offensive. Sure it’s disrespectful. But you have no right to not be offended and you have no right to be respected. I have a Right to offend and disrespect. Without that Right, you are a slave.
Not too long ago many were shouting that mantra at the liberals and the LGBT, declaring it “unAmerican” to censor people they deemed “offensive.” How quickly the terms of Liberty are forgotten and how fickle people become when they are now offended.
“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know.
“This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.” Silence Dogood #8
There is another issue of property. If you own the flag it is your property to burn. The federal government made the burning of money illegal, because they say that the paper money is federal property. Are we saying that every flag we buy is still owned by the government so they can prosecute us for burning their property? What if I take a bed sheet and draw a US Flag on it and burn it, will I go to jail or have my citizenship revoked for that, too? Who defines this offense? Who punishes this offense? It will be those in government who have proven themselves ignorant and irresponsible to Liberty; those in government who wrap themselves in that flag and then torch our Bill of Rights. That is a power we ought not allow government to exercise, it is one they have proven they do not deserve to wield.
Those in government who are ignorant of Liberty and those in government disposed to usurp are not going to overturn the Right to Free Speech by amending the Constitution, but what they will do is create laws attacking specific aspects of Free Speech or engage in efforts of societal censorship (political correctness) and make us censor ourselves. Self censorship is the greatest form of servitude because the slaves never see the chains that bind them.
We must KNOW that speech cannot be censored by government, and the people should not be afraid to speak!
“For no People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when Knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own Weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” Samuel Adams 1775
The founders of our Constitutional Republic burned their flag, they burned effigies of their politicians and tax collectors, too. They burned their flag as an expression of sadness over their Liberty lost through government usurpation. They burned their flag as an expression of disgust over the despotic attack by their government upon their Liberties. Their flag meant no less to them than our flag means to many Americans. They loved their country of Great Britain. They continually prayed for reconciliation with their country, up to and even beyond the Declaration of Independence. To them, burning their flag, was the most powerful way to express the utter despair they felt over their government’s refusal to recognize the Rights of all Englishman as guaranteed by their Constitution and by God. To them, burning effigies of their tax collectors and politicians, was the most peaceful way to show their complete disgust for the negligence and criminality of those they had entrusted as guardians of their Rights.
As a matter of fact, the colonists did something “worse” than burning the Union Jack, they created a whole new flag as a statement of their defiance and independence! Therefore, it is not even historically accurate to claim that our founders would not advocate burning the flag in protest. They personally knew that power of that free expression.
We must get our priorities in line. We must develop a fonder attachment to Liberty than to paper and cloth. Without that Liberty, the only paper and cloth you will possess are the ones that our government gives you permission to possess and you will only possess it under their terms and conditions. Let us Love Liberty over Security and Comfort, Principles over Parties, and Truth over Personality.
I doesn’t matter how you feel about the President. It doesn’t matter how you feel about burning a flag. My Rights are not based upon your feelings. They are inalienable gifts from God.
“Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” Samuel Adams 1771
The quickest way to identify a tyrant is find the one who wants to diminish your Rights so people can be happy. The quickest way to find a slave is to locate those agreeing with the tyrant.
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” William Pitt, the Younger
Perhaps if we had spent more time in school memorizing the Bill of Rights than the Pledge of Allegiance, we would be having a different conversation.
Mandatory Vaccinations & Their Impact Upon Religious Liberty
By KrisAnne Hall, JD
America was established upon the principles of Liberty. James Madison said wrote in 1792:
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right. To guard a man's house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man's conscience which is more sacred than his castle..."
A new plea of "necessity" is sweeping across America that could change all of that. State Legislation that eliminates the essential exception to mandatory vaccinations would remove the right of free exercise of religion for Americas all across the country by mandating them to engage in behavior contrary to their religious beliefs. Americans must prevent this unreasonable intrusion and head the warning of those who founded America. William Pitt, The Younger warned in 1783:
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves."
Mandating vaccinations without offering parents religious exemptions threatens religious freedom for all. Vaccinations have been available to Americans since the early 1800s. Once governments began attempting to mandate vaccinations upon citizens, many people began to object. This is not simply an issue of eradicating disease; it goes much deeper than that.
Many religious faiths hold murder to be a violation of their beliefs and hold abortion to fall into the category of murder. Shockingly, the list of mandatory vaccinations for children include vaccinations that are derived from aborted fetal tissue. Vaccinations for Chicken Pox, Hepatitis-A, and Rubella, are produced from aborted fetal tissue and at this time, pharmaceutical companies offer no alternatives. According to a report issued by Liberty Counsel, most physicians who oppose abortion do not realize these vaccines are produced from aborted fetal tissue.
The Rubella vaccination know as RA/27/3, developed during the Rubella epidemic of 1964, is so named based on the fact that it is derived from aborted fetal tissue: R stands for Rubella, A stands for Abortus, 27 stands for the 27th fetus tested, and 3 stands for the 3rd tissue explant. In layman’s terms, there were 26 abortions prior to identifying the right formula for the vaccination. Aborted babies were sent to two scientists at the Wistar Institute by the names of Plotkin and Hayflick. By dissecting the kidneys and lungs of these aborted babies Plotkin and Hayflick developed the virus strain identified as WI-38 (Wistar Institute 38). Further development of this vaccination was created in the 1970’s from a male baby at 14 weeks gestation. (HistoryOfVaccinies.org – Human Cell Strains in Vaccine Development) The cells from these aborted babies have also been used to create many other commonly used vaccinations, two of which are the Hepatitis-A and Chicken Pox vaccinations. With these facts we can discern that even vaccinations that may not actually contain aborted fetal tissue, were actually developed initially using the cells of aborted babies. (see Liberty Counsel report).
Not only does the Chicken Pox vaccination contain strains derived from aborted babies, it also contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), a chemical compound the FDA has identified as dangerous to infants, children, pregnant women or women of child bearing age, and people with mental or emotional disorders. According to the Liberty Counsel report, Dr. Arthur Lavin of the Department of Pediatrics at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, strongly opposes the chicken pox vaccine. Some experts believe the Chicken Pox vaccination can actually signal a more serious underlying chronic condition called “Atypical Measles.” (see Liberty Counsel report) Although the FDA claims less than a 10% chance that serious illness and death caused by vaccinations, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (a federal government program) pays nearly $100 million per year to victims and families for vaccine related disabilities and deaths.
In addition to the dangers and use of aborted babies to create vaccines, many people simply hold sincerely religious beliefs against vaccinations in general. One religious objection is the firmly held belief that God created the human body as a temple and that the body should not be destroyed by injecting a virus into it.
Although a few of the vaccinations containing aborted babies have alternatives that do not contain aborted baby tissue, those alternatives do contain animal bi-products. There are many people in Florida that have firmly held convictions against ingesting any animal products into their bodies.
Mandatory vaccinations that are designed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases also create problems for those with particular religious convictions. These parents believe sexually transmitted diseases ought to be prevented through abstinence and not injections into the body that condone sexual activity contrary to their religious beliefs.
There are less intrusive ways to deal with these issues and the courts are not inconsiderate of the rights of those with deeply held religious beliefs. For example, Liberty Counsel won two cases in New York City where the school system attempted to mandate the Hepatitis-B vaccination on the children of two families. These families expressed their sincerely held religious beliefs against vaccinations and the schools expelled the children of both families. Liberty Counsel filed a federal law suit on behalf of both families and the federal court held that the children had to be readmitted to school and the school could not force the parents to vaccinate their children.
In another case, Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against Arkansas’s law mandating vaccinations and denying religious exceptions. Because of Liberty Counsel’s law suit, the Arkansas legislature promptly passed new legislations providing for exemptions for philosophical and religious objectors, as well as objectors who claim medical necessity.
We cannot allow our State Representatives to simply disregard the Religious Liberty of the people. America’s founders fought desperately to establish a place where all could be equally free to live true to their religious beliefs without government intrusion. The very principle of separation of church and state requires government to not infringe upon the religious beliefs of the people.
John Witherspoon, a founder of America and former president of Princeton University said, “There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.” The People of Florida intentionally established religious exemptions to mandatory vaccinations to protect the essential rights embodied in religious liberty. For the preservation of civil and religious liberty for all, Americans must preserve our Right to conscience: we must protect religious exemptions!
Learn more at KrisAnneHall.com
A Short Message
On The Right To Keep & Bear Arms
By KrisAnne Hall, JD
The Right to keep and bear arms is an essential protection for Life and Liberty.
Samuel Adams wrote in 1792:
“Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First Life, secondly Liberty, third property, together with the right to defend them in the best manner possible.”
Adams continued his point by noting that these rights are a direct product of the First law of Nature, the Duty of self-preservation.
Those who would stand for the Right to keep and bear arms do so with the interest of preserving Life and Liberty – not destroying it. Those who support the Right to keep and bear arms support the Natural Right and duty of self-preservation, they support the ability to defend Life and Liberty not only for themselves but for their neighbors. They support freedom and just government, they support ensuring that our future generations will able to be a government of the people, not subject to a government over the people. The keep and bear arms, they train in the skill of defense BECAUSE they love their children, their families, and their neighbors and want to defend the most precious gifts of Life, at their own expense, if necessary.
Those who oppose the Right to keep and bear arms, whether intentionally or not, support the opposite of Life and Liberty – they support slavery, they support oppression, they support despotic government rule over the people.
Those who ignorantly support disarming the people do so because they have been convinced of one eternal error – that those in power respect the lives and liberties of the people and will protect them. There is absolutely NOTHING in the history of man that ought to give someone that false delusion of hope. History is ripe with one oracle of truth – when the people are disarmed they are inevitably enslaved by the more powerful, more able, or more populated groups. Disarming the people never ever frees the minority, to the contrary, in a disarmed society the minority becomes the first to be converted to chattel. Slavery is not possible in a society where the people are well armed and well trained in the skill of defense and the knowledge of the value of Life and Liberty worth defending.
Those who knowingly support disarming the people do so because they are power hungry, lack respect for Life, and wish to control and dominate Life, Liberty, and Property. The know just how to motivate the ignorant through the greatest human deception, contrived necessity. They know how to control the powerless, corral the weak, and convince a morally depleted population to organize and come against their own neighbors. They are those among us who endeavor to rob the innocent of their God given rights to enrich and empower themselves and endanger most precious gifts of Life and at the fatal cost of a free future. They care only about themselves; they are the ones who pass by a neighbor in need and demand the right to take Life out of a feigned excuse derived from the most selfish center of humankind. They seek to rob, kill, and destroy Life, Liberty and Property and they are the very spirit that has caused the institutions of slavery and despotism to rise throughout history.
William Pitt, The Younger summed it up best when he said,
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom, it is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves.”
There is a day where every American reflects on who they are, who they want to be, and takes the time to classify themselves. Are you a slave? Are you a tyrant? Or are you a freeman?
If you have determined that you love your neighbor as yourself, if you love your children and your children’s children, if you wish to remain a freeman and not encourage slavery at the hand of the despot, then what comes next is your only choice…John Adams wrote,
“Liberty must at all hazards be defended, we have a right to it derived from our maker. But if we had not, our fathers have bought and purchased it for us at the expense of their ease, their estates and their pleasure and their blood.”
So, first, You Stand UP FOR the weak and ignorant. You Stand up to say, we will not let you be enslaved. We will defend you as well as our own because that is the call of Liberty that Makes America Great
Second, you Stand up TO tyrant. You declare your Natural Rights just as we did on July 4, 1776 – That all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That these rights, being derived from Nature, a gift to all mankind, precede all government and all law; that all laws must be made to conform to our Natural Rights, or they are no law at all. You tell the tyrant that you hold no ill will, that you love him and pray peace, and because you love him you will not allow him to enslave your neighbor and you will not allow him to deny us and our future a Right guaranteed by our Creator.
Mercy Otis Warren made this plea:
"America stands armed with resolution and virtue; but she still recoils at the idea of drawing the sword against the nation from whence she derived her origin. Yet Britain, like an unnatural parent, is ready to plunge her dagger into the bosom of her affectionate offspring. But may we not yet hope for more lenient measures!”
You see, it won’t be those who defend Liberty who pray violence. Those fighting for the Right to keep and bear arms are armed, yes, with resolution and virtue to preserve Life, not end it, to secure Liberty, not destroy it. It will be those who have no respect for Life, that hold no love for their brother, who love self more than Liberty and Life – the tyrants and slaves – who will bring violence for violent ends.
THESE are the times that try men's souls. These are the days when choices must be made. Today we choose peace. Today we choose Life. Today we choose Liberty. And because we’ve made these choices, today we choose to defend our right to secure Life, Liberty, and Property from those who would come to rob, steal, and destroy. Today we stand in defense of our Natural Right to keep and bear arms.
And if you find yourself in opposition to this essential Right. If you find yourself thinking it’s necessary to deny us this Right or that someone must control and disarm the people, you have classified yourself… as either the tyrant or the slave.
You see if we are historically honest there is only one question necessary in the gun control discussion –
Do you trust that the people in power will never use the force of government to take your Life, Liberty, or Property?
If the answer to that question is NO. The discussion is over and you now, finally know, why we stand before you today and every day, armed with virtue and resolution to declare
244 years ago we took a stand and said, NO MORE KINGS, and we’re not about to change our minds now.