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Creative Philosophy and Sociology of the Law of Peace:
Legal HipStory for Religious Use Defense under Religous Freedom Restoration Act (part 5)
Current "Group Use" Regulations
Several misrepresentations of the truth are printed in the 1995 FS Regs at 36 CFR 251 (FR, vol 60). This concerns our clean-up record in Minnesota, North Carolina, and elsewhere.
Five separate crews worked on clean-up and restoration of the Minnesota Site of 1990. I was in on the conversations and acted as a cheervoice for those who made the journey. The situation our People faced was two-fold:
They did not walk over the land with the Ranger for inspection at the end of the clean-up; they felt they had such a good relationship with the Forest Service by the end of the Gathering that "all the politics were over." -- because the Police State on the threshhold of the Peaceable Assembly was withdrawn.. So they left, leaving the Ranger to come out later and check the clean-up. A Ranger was there everyday with the Family during the clean-up and Restoration Process, usually Restoration volunteer crews walk with the Ranger, over the Site, and a handshake and "good job' is exchanged.
They did not get a signed letter from the Rangers. For years, at the end of clean-up, there would be a handshake between the clean-up/restoration crew and the Ranger (usually a conservation Ranger, like Silver Rael in New Mexico in 1995). In Minnesota, Several Restoration Crews (all volunteers) returned to the Site, from late Fall of 1990 on into the Spring of 1991 -- until June 11, 1991, when finally, one of the Restoration Crews walked the land with the Ranger, and got a signed letter from the Ranger, on site. Very little trace of the Gathering was ever left to Restore. Since this time I/we have encouraged Restoration volunteers to get a signed letter from the Raanger, at the end of Clean-up and Restoration, after walking the site with the Ranger. Otherwise, we get situations like the Forest Service statements about 1987, North Carolina, 1990, Minnesota, 1991, Vermont and 1992, Colorado, Clean-up and Restoration not being good enough, (see 36 CFR 251 Fed. Reg. vol 60. 1995).
In 1987 at North Carolina, the Clean-up the Forest Service touts so strongly against us, the Forest Service forgets to mention all the evidence that was entered in the Texas Case in 1988 and the fact we were under injunction and blockade in Texas , and the Justice Justice ordered Federal Marshall in to oversee the relationship between Forest Service Special Agents and Rainbow Family, fearing the Special Agents would run amok.:
There was a blockade on our Front Gate, during the North Carolina Gathering. At one point, when many Rainbow Children were sick, as well as big folks, I was working as a volunteer at the Front Gate of the Gathering on the Fourth of July, when an R.V. arrived with 1200 gallons of distilled water, badly needed inside for the Children and sick people. The rig was driven by a Chiropractor Doctor, with his card and driver's license. I specifically asked through the Officers present, to address the Incident Command, Special Agent Billy Ball, to allow this R.V. with all the Distilled Water to pass. The Forest Service refused ingress because the driver had a card, but did not have his Doctor's License with him in the R.V. at that moment. [Note that many Rainbows, including me, suspect that the Forest Service (or associated agents/military) may have poisoned us with Shigellosis sprayed from an airplane, or by some other means -- a spraying of something was witnessed by many present, including me, shortly before the outbreak of sickness.
Later, during the Clean-up and Restoration of the land, the entire clean-up crew was harassed, threatened, with some arrested; until finally the entire Clean-Up/Restoration Crew was arrested. Once they got out of jail, they returned to the Site and finished the job. An alleged Agreement between the State of North Carolina and Rainbow Family was signed by three persons who had no authority whatsoever with respect to the Family. These individuals were moved in their hearts and minds to do what they perceived was a Peace Move for the safety of the People (and themselves). Moreover, they wrote "Signed Under Duress" on the "agreement," which renders it invalid, which was pointed out in Court during the Texas Case in 1988 [see "1988 Case," item #4].
III. CREDO: Outline for Cultural Rights Claim
Discrimination Against Our "Recognizable Minority":
In 1937, Marijuana Stamp Tax Act was passed. The Movie "Reefer Madness" is revealing in that it clearly shows that the "compelling governmental interest" at that time was not to stop marijuana and marijuana smoking, but rather, was to stop what was perceived as a social, recreational relationship between marijuana smoking and "race-mixing" i.e., to stop people of differing cultures, different cultures, colors, shared beliefs, creeds, from assembling or associating peaceably.
Over the years, since 1993, at various times, great "social alarms" have rung out, and American society and the enforcement arms of the Government at many levels have tried to stop the growth of a culture, a minority of citizens/people who choose to associate, to assemble with other people different than themselves in peaceable ways.
Among some of the ways used to stop the growth of this "recognizable peace culture," this "recognizable minority," are various zoning laws, rock festival laws (Vortex/Woodstock Laws), drug laws, noise ordinances, group use regulations, etc...
These laws are enacted at City, County, State, and Federal levels. There have been declarations of War against various element/individuals in society, under the color/guise of punishing criminal activities, which on their face are discriminatory toward specific "associated people, people of a common creed."
People of this culture are called by many names: in recent years, these folks have been called hippies, H.I.P.eyes (Humanely Interested People with friendly eyes), flower children, peace people, protest people, longhairs, freaks/folks, '60's people, new age people, now age, rainbows, deadheads, etc... this recognizable culture is noted for its common creed:
Peaceable assemblies for the purposes of expression; including Peace Gatherings, held on public and private Lands; Rock and Roll concerts and other musical, theatrical, artistic, and cultural expressions; i.e., Barter Faires etc..
Shared Beliefs: Inclusive in these peaceable assemblies are moments of shared beliefs upon the parts of participants. Even individuals of differing beliefs come together at these Common Ground arenas, with a common understanding of Sharing Common Ground in Peace -- Peaceable Assemblies.
Exercise of shared beliefs: In many of these assemblies, individuals with different religious views and different political views become united by their common purpose in coming together; by their COMMON PEACE PRESENCE they EXPRESS a common EXERCISE of their religious and political FREEDOMS. By their presence they are joining in a common interest, exercising their powers of expression as individuals/citizens (powers not held by the Federal Government or any of the States). In these exercises of expressive Freedom/liberties, PEOPLE HAVE REAL POWER TO EXERCISE.
This underscores the significance of PEACEABLE ASSEMBLIES, as a way for people of diverse cultures, who have Rights reserved to them under the Constitution, to discover these Rights and Exercise them in Common Actions of Peaceable Assembly, which is a Verb, as well as a Noun.
Free Home, Free Exercise
Integral to the Government's case is the idea that they are not affecting our Religious Liberty by requiring a permit.
The other day, a guy and his son came by, the discussion turned to the death of his son, and his son's love of Hawks: How just before the son's death, in a tragic accident, he and his son had discussed Death and reincarnation. The son expressed that, if he died, someday he might like to return as a Hawk. His Dad said that while he went to Church every once in a while, his son expressed his love of worship of God in the out-of-doors. This Son died on Christmas Day; and later, the Dad and another son were out in the out-of-doors, and saw a Hawk circling in the Sky. They felt the Hawk was a messege from the son who had died, that he was alright in heaven, with God.
If the Father and Son, had been out in the out-of-doors, with 73 other people of their family; or if 73 other persons had stopped by and witnessed the same Hawk, no matter how personal the moment might be, by this Regulation, the Dad or Son, or someone, would have to go to the nearest Forest Service office and apply for a permit and maybe receive it based on the criteria in the Regulation.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
[-Amendment 10, U.S. Constitution] When People Gather for Peaceable Assembly, they find the places to do so by Design or planning, Vision, spiritual or Religious insight, Political or cultural belief, Dreams, Fate, Circumstance, Incidentally, Accidentally, and sometimes foolishness. It is my witness that there are many times when a Gathering is expected to Happen in one spot or area, on one type of land or another, will often happen where it happens. What moves People to Assemble, at certain places and at certain times of the Year, is a Mystery; often noticed but seldom given Freedom in the Law.
In England, the Caravan Sitings Act of 1976 dealt with the idea of recognizing reknowned Caravan sites, places where People tend to Gather in Caravans or similar associations. If Sites, Caravan Gathering places, are used for 10 years in a row, they are then recognized and set aside as Caravan Sites, places where people may continue to Assemble. Stonehenge, one of the Ancient Gathering Sites in England, is also a site frequented by Caravans, year after year, in different seasons of celebration. However, the British government blockaded Stonehenge to prevent the Caravans from Gathering there for the tenth consecutive year; to prevent the designation of a reknowned, continuously used, spiritually/culturally significant Caravan Site. The British government is waging a cultural war against the People who "naturally" gather at Stonehenge during various times of the year, since Ancient times.
It is my witness that Gathering sites in United States of North America are rare, wonderful places. Places that CALL the People HOME. Oftentimes, "Scouts" who look and look for a suitable Site for a Gathering; when they finally find such a Site, it is as if the Site itself set up a Welcoming Vibration; a Welcome Home Vibration. This vibration or communication is indescribable and can only be experienced directly.
Like a swarm of bees who know where to swarm, persons come from all directions; as if a radiant energy were drawing them from 360 degrees around Home Center, people feel drawn to the Home Place. Borders of Countries or Nations (there have been hundreds of Gatherings in other Countries and Nations, some with Government sanction -- see Czech Gathering 1995), borders of States, borders of Federal land and private land, make no difference here. The choice or discovery of sites is guided by Spirit and the will of the land. Still, Rainbow People, among others, commonly choose to Gather on the National Forest or Bureau of Land Management Lands, and rarely venture into more protected areas of Public Land (eg, Wilderness, Special Use Areas). We rarely trespass on private land, although there are occasional exceptions, as in Colorado 1972 at Strawberry Lake, Home Center was Strawberry Meadows, a piece of private Land within the National Forest; the Silence at Noon was held on the top of Table Mountain, on National Forest Land.
Whether it be an Ancient impulse, tracing to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, or earlier; or a Now Age impulse, arising in response to Dark Days on the Earth; or a natural phenomenon coming about from the modern proximity of diverse cultures, the culmination of the "melting pot;" or all of this -- for whatever reasons, mystical or scientific, spiritual or religious -- Individuals, Persons of many colors, cultures, Tribes, communes, creeds, religions, Spiritual pathways -- have begun to Gather.
The choice of where to Gather comes from within; the time, the place, who to be with -- all of this comes from within. A spiritual message speaks to the heart and compells the mind; like a religious commandment, or an impulse like the commands that led Jesus to the Cross; "Take up thy cross and follow me!," and people do. In this way, scouts know the place when they see it, when they walk upon the Land and it tells them it is a Gathering Site, then they know that the People will come.
The People swarm to these Lands, not to disregard the Law, but because they feel a "calling" ("Many are called, few are chosen!"). To many people, this experience is spiritual, or religious, or metaphysical, or highly significant; it has intrinsic value. For someone to feel the "natural experience," the "natural, inalienable right to relationship to Nature," the feeling of "Coming Home;" like the salmon and the buffalo, and the eagles and the butterflies, and the Ancient Peoples of Tribal remembrance; we experience that we are part of the story of the Earth. And too, our Homeplace is affected by the Governmental process.
Some folks feel that anyone who spends their time at Home dealing with the Government (with Babylon) on legal matters; or working with any constituted authority; or even discussing whether any Government of the World can rightfully have Rules or Regulation over something so innate as Gathering, so intrinsic to the value of their life; anyone who engages in such activities, is wasting their time and should turn their energies toward simply Gathering.
As a person who feels very strongly that only the Creator has dominion over the Creation, it has been a constant struggle, for me as an individual, to be burdened by government interference in my religious exercise. Many forms of "Prosecutorial MisConduct" and "Selective Enforcement" have been used against me personally, and against the Gatherings and the Inalienable Right of the People to Gather.
It is my personal belief, that in free exercise of my religious liberties, I have the right to Gather in the exact cultural expression of the message of Gathering; The Way we Gather, Our Style of Gathering, is our Free Exercise, and is Our Message. This is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The "Powers" of the Flowers
The Power of the People, as defined by the Constitution, is the aggregate of powers, rights, privileges, and immunities, both designated and reserved to them. Coming together in celebration of Peaceable Assemblies for rights of Expression, on either private or public lands (or lands held in trust for the common concerns) is a legitimate exercise of these Powers.
THE PEOPLE, through the afforded place, THE SOAPBOX OF THEIR CHOOSING, may Freely exercise their rights of religious beliefs and political beliefs. By Assembling in Peaceable Ways, the people are furthering the public interest, and government interests, in several ways:
Redressing differences in Open Public forums, held on public lands, private lands, or lands held in trust for such purpose as sanctuaries of the Truth, are especially necessary in any Country that seeks domestic tranquility through a government founded on agreements of the People. It is in the interest of governments to provide and encourage such lands to be recognized for this purpose, as a Sanctuary of Truth or Speech.
"Soapbox" opportunities come with some place to Stand and have Free"Speech."
Freedom of Expression extends to actual Speech, non-verbal communication, including dance, music, art and style. Freedom of Expression includes freedom of lifestyle as long as it is similar in nature to a peaceable assembly.
Peaceable Actions in a citizen's lifestyle, exercised at these peaceable assemblies and in their daily life, further insure domestic tranquility.
Open expressions of a "Peace Lifestyle", through workshops, sharing of views, ideas, worship, use of marjuana (and other herbs etc.) in ways of intrinsic value--- encourage voluntary domestic tranquility.
In music, arts, and other tangible expressions of speech and expression, citizens who assemble in peaceable ways, of same or similar cultural reference i.e. creed, should not be denied their right to their pursuit of happiness nor deprived of their privileges and immunities under the Constitution simply because they have differing ways than the current majority views.
Citizens/individuals attend these events to Exercise their right to Expression. These events become "Soapboxes" which give opportunity for speech, worship, exercise of religious liberties, and exercise of political liberties. Common Ground is reached by various citizens, "insuring domestic tranquility."
Peaceable Assemblies are Free and Open (non-commercial) in nature: even though, as in the case of such Peaceable events such as Woodstock l969, and Woodstock 1995, a commercial potential existed, the events themselves became, by virtue of the PEOPLE EXERCISING THEIR RIGHTS TO PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE, became Free and Open events. Even many commercial events have elements of Free Expression, and within these commercial events the right to freely express opinions either in art or music or style are included in Free Exercise.
These strictly Free and Open events/assemblies/fairs/gatherings, of a peaceable nature, with evident presence of persons "obviously" of the peace culture, who through statements or actions are provably of a distinct minority of recognizable characteristics and similarities, are part and particle of a common creed of peace among people of peace. Non-commercial events of a peaceable nature which Constitute assemblies are essential to a culturally diverse democracy.
Forms of Cultural Oppression
Individuals of the PEACE Culture are oppressed by a range of laws that interfere with their guaranteed Constitutional Rights, freedom of religious/ethical self-determination, and ethical creed of Tolerance/Celebration of Peaceable Difference. The oppressive laws include the Federal and State Marijuana Prohibition Laws, Vortex/Woodstock Ordinances -(Outdoor Music Festivals Laws, Outdoor Mass Gathering Acts), Selective emphasis of traffic laws, land use and zoning laws, noise ordinances and Federal Administrative Rules.
The Marijuana Prohibition Laws fail to recognize legitimate cultural, non-criminal, uses of marijuana. Marijuana has long been used as a medicine and sacrament within a variety of world cultures. Contemporary cultural use also reveals many beneficial effects, sacramental sharing, and the broad based observation that marijuana use poses no substantial threat to the public. This truth can be witnessed by many, many people, both users and non-users.
However, Prohibition efforts have generated a climate of ignorance and hysteria regarding the true effects of this herb. As a result honest inquiry is stifled and truthful witness cannot be given without drawing suspicion of criminal behavior. Mere allegations/rumors/inflammatory headlines regarding the supposed "intrinsic" dangers of marijuana use have been misrepresented as facts, displacing legitimate research that substantiates beneficial medicinal uses and establishes the positive social aspects of our culture. The "red-baiting" of McCarthy's era has been replaced by "hippie-baiting" in this current "Drug War" era.
Cultural use of marijuana includes individuals of diverse philosophies, religious backgrounds, and spiritual beliefs who are united by this common cultural practice. Legitimate cultural use includes:
Political Use: persons, individuals, citizens Speak Out for the legalization of marijuana; in this exercise of the political rights, these citizens are Redressing Grievances of infringement, proclaiming their rights of political expression are burdened.
Religious/Spiritual Use: individuals/citizens assemble for prayer, worship, to share beliefs, to exercise the essence of their ritual use of marijuana as sacrament, and to Share in the Blessings of the Herb.
Cultural/Secular Use: people in cultural assocation with one another, citizens who posses and use marijuana in various ways associated with civil liberties gather together to celebrate their mutual possession and use. Under civil rights laws persons should not be singled out to be oppressed because of their lifestyle/culture/creed.
Our Culture, Our creed, is partially based on Tolerance. Therefore, as a practicing Jesus Taoist, I may smoke Marijuana as an Exercise in Religious Liberty and view it as Sacrament. However, there are those of the Rainbow, even among those who smoke Marijuana, who do not choose to see it as Religious Use, nor do some of them see Peaceable Assembly as a Religious Exercise. Yet, these people and I can Gather on Common Ground because we share the same or similar creed; ie, our Peaceable Assembly includes Acceptance of one Another and Acceptance of Our Differences. Our Affirmation with one another is Tolerance of Differences on Common Ground [**see Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?, p. 15].
The purposes/philosophies of marijuana use within our culture reflects our diversity, our individual differences. Hence We, as a culture, include persons with religious relationship to marijuana, persons with healing relationship to marijuana (ie, medical use), persons with cultural relationship to marijuana, and persons with political relationship to marijuana. These purposes are similar insofar as they recognize marijuana as having intrinsic and beneficial values; as opposed to merely commercial value. Anyone whose use is predicated on an intrinsic relationship to marijuana, and other herbs, cannot be considered of criminal mind. When use reflects an intrinsic value, the person's "intent" is exercise of religious belief, cultural creed, healing/medical practice, or political expression. It should be noted that all of these uses can be included under the Religious Freedom Practices Act in accordance with due process.
In general, the various Governments have justified their "oppression" of these people and cultural events/assemblies under the color of various generally applicable laws. In doing so they have consistently and constantly, violated and substantially burdened various individuals' rights to worship, to freely exercise their religious liberties, to express themselves politically for redress of grievances, and to exercise their rights and powers reserved by the Constitution.
Restrictions have been placed on First Amendment freedoms well beyond service of any "compelling governmental interest." The governments and agencies in question have not and are not undertaking to utilize the "least restrictive means" of pursuing their interests where the Constitutional Rights of these citizens are at stake. Nor are there "alternative methods of communication" for citizens of this culture, who by common creed attend, assemble, gather, associate for prayer or worship -- to exercise their religious/political/cultural creeds, liberties or rights to petition for redress of grievances, and otherwise to exercise the rights and powers reserved for the People.
Over the years, these governments and agencies have singled out various Individuals and groups who practice a "Peace Culture," and exercise their liberties at these assemblies and in their personal lives. Recognizable members of this culture are "burdened," by a myriad of "generally applicable laws," for criminal and civil prosecution, under the guize of public health and safety, zoning, war on drugs, etc. The governments in question set up situations where the "compelling governmental interest" is represented as "health and safety considerations," when in fact, the Governmental authority is used to single out, repress, and restrict civil liberties.
Setting up a "Police State on the Threshold of peaceable assemblies," has become a source of continued tensions between citizens and governmental authority. This has often had a "chilling effect" on First Amendment freedoms [see: O'Hair v. Andrus; U.S. v. Gideon Israel; U.S. v. Rainbow Family]. The governments' "justifications" of compelling interest have been Health and Safety laws, environmental regulations, festival and noise ordinances, etc.
Through the years, particularly since the l960's, Governments have repeatedly been in the Courts, under various jurisdictions, regarding the People's Rights of Assembly. Ordinarily, a Judge will rule that public health and safety should strike some balance with the rights of individuals and citizens. Accordingly, the rights of certain peaceable assemblies have been recognized by Federal Judges. Judges have also recognized that the governmental agencies involved also have responsibilities in ensuring the public health and safety. The view that "Unrestricted First Amendment rights are not in the public interest," is a common theme of the U.S. Supreme Court in many cases.
The Issue, for the government, comes down to what constitutes the following:
- (a) compelling governmental interest
(b) least restrictive means
(c) reasonable compliance within the laws.
(d) alternative means of communication
The Issue, for the People, various Individuals, citizens comes down to: Protecting Constitutional guarantees for the Exercise of Civil Liberties of Speech, Worship, Assembly, Association, Expression, Redress of Grievance, Cultural Creed; that these are neither hindered, hampered, harassed, infringed, burdened, oppressed, or otherwise impaired; thus ensuring that not even one minority group or individual is singled out and persecuted for their beliefs, shared beliefs, i.e. creed, for their shared lifestyle of cultural values, i.e. creed, or for the exercise of their religious and political liberties.
Reassurances must be made in light of the loss of public trust in government. Many citizens have had "a chilling effect" placed on their everyday rights, and their rights of celebration and worship, and their rights to assemble without infringement of their rights or persecution. It is well known in this Country, if you are going to attend an event or peaceable assembly where "certain elements" are included -- such as a Greatful Dead Concert (not too long ago); or Earth First's Round River Rendezvous; or an American Peace Test at the Nevada nuclear test site near Mercury, Neveda; or a Peace Vigil in Lafayette Peace Park; or a Rainbow Gathering somewhere on public land; or a Peace Gathering at Rainbow Valley near Little Rock Washington; or many other similar events or assemblies held in various places around the Country, in every state and locality --that you do so at the risk of police persecution. Such events and assemblies, attended for purposes of exercising rights to associate and assemble, worship, redress grievances, or express political views, are frequently "burdened" by excessive police presence, illegal searches, excessive force, blockades, etc. [mucho evidence].
Other citizens generally have the simple right to drive to the "King Dome" in Seattle, WA; park and enter; see a game or Billy Graham, etc.; be there recreationally or with purpose. Authorities generally utilize minimal means of restricting ingress and egress of such places and events, such peaceable assemblys. NO DISASTER SITUATIONS ARE ANNOUNCED. However, if a Gathering on Public land for Purposes of Expression is announced by people of the Rainbow Family (by whatever name), the Government routinely declares this an emergency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is called in and placed in charge; ie, a state of Martial law is instituted.
According to a New York Times article on the New Mexico Gathering last year, Forest Service sources reported that something like l700 people a day were stopped by Police on their way to the Gathering. These police were ostensibly there to warn the attending individuals of the lawful speed limits, etc; yet, at various times, these same police have been found to arbitrarily utilize various "generally applicable laws" to stop people and curtail the number and types of people who attend these Gatherings. Similarly, in the case of Peace Gatherings with music held at Rainbow Valley near Little Rock, WA, the local government seems more inclined to shut down the event, seeing to it that the peaceable assembly does not happen at all, rather than seeing it happen within reasonable compliance to the law.
Notes & Resources
"Speak-Outs" on/at Soapboxes (Peaceable Assembly areas) have been held at national levels, and local levels for years [see Irish War League v. Gay, Bi-Sexual, Lesbian Alliance of Boston, June 1995].
Books on the Hippies, many books on counter-culture etc. and their relationship to the Authorities, have been written. [see Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?, B. Adams, reference to "Hipstory of the People"].
T.V. programs have been broadcast on the Hippies, etc. [see "The Compton Report," and "A.B.C. Primetime Live," report with Liza Cohen].
"Hippies" (and by other names) are a generally recognizable minority in this Country. "Hippies" and "persons who possess and use marijuana" are commonly associated in the public mind, and in the Judiciary mind [ see U.S. v. Gideon Israel; Judge Bilby of Arizona said, "Hippies and High Creek, they seem to go together...," when designating an alternative peaceable assembly ground for purposes of expression].
Human Be-Ins, Smoke-Ins, Demonstrations of many sorts, Peace Vigils like the one currently in place across the street from the White House at Lafayette Peace Park have a documented history of police interference and judicial proceedings [see Thomas v. U.S. Park Police; also, Clark v. C.C.N.V.).
See also Rastfarian Ruling, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Feb. 2, 1996 [see "Road To Freedom" Section, this paper.].
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