This afternoon I joined concerned citizens from around the Dayton area at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally on the PUBLIC campus of Sinclair Community College. This was an official event sponsored by a campus group and part of a nationwide series of rallies being held today. Bryan was the closing speaker for the rally, invited to speak to the crowd about getting involved and getting active.
As the Rally was starting the campus police informed us that all the signs and banners people were holding must be put on the ground after a complaint from a homosexual advocacy group leader. The police walked around the crowd telling people to put their signs down, that they could not hold them in their hands.
Police claimed a Limited Use Policy which we have looked up and there is nothing in the policy about signs. - http://www.sinclair.edu/about/offices/bus/campusaccess/index.cfm?searchTerm=limited+public+forum
The policy does express a rule about the distribution of literature which was enforced on me for trying to give away free stickers. The problem is that this campus is funded with public funds and it is public property. The campus cannot make up rules that trample the first amendment of the constitution.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said, “We praise the Lord for the rallies for religious freedom that occurred today, but something smells fishy in Dayton. Forcing people to put their signs down is certainly not a default activity of law enforcement in a country of free speech. This incident deserves thorough investigation, and we who believe in freedom of speech should press with all our strength to defend it.”
Despite the irony of our rights being taken away, the rally was a huge success. I was the closing speaker for the rally and I was pumped by the time I got to the microphone. I was excited to see so many young people there to take a stand, many of them who after the rally committed to spend time praying at the abortion clinic with Stand True as part of our White Rose Pro-life Summer.
With all of the amazing speakers we had the crowd left energized and emboldened to be a light in the darkness. The police taking away their rights only served to magnify why this rally and this battle are so important. Look out America, the Obama administration has awakened a sleeping giant and we will not back down.
Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, the sponsor of these rallies said “This incident of civil rights infringement in Dayton, OH illustrates precisely why these rallies were needed so badly. Americans are forgetting the importance of faith in the public square secured by our cherished American freedoms. It is a blessing that this mandate has sparked so much celebration of these freedoms and such determination to defend them.”
I want to personally thank Eric Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League for spearheading these rallies. Be assured that Priests for Life is standing strong with you against the injustice of the Obama mandate.
Here are two videos. One is my speech at the rally and the other is a video of the police arguing about the constitution and our rights, one officer even tries to stop us from recording and tells us we cannot video tape as he grabs at our camera.
Here is a photo of the crowd with no signs