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(my legal perspective)by Barry Adams, Montana Family, beaplunker (c. 1996)
edited by S. Bradford
[and edited again by Butterfly Bill]
Former Chief Justice of the United States, Warren S. Burger wrote of the Constitution as follows:
“The work of 55 men at Philadelphia in 1787 was another step toward ending the concept of the divine right of kings. In place of the absolutism of monarchy, the freedoms flowing from this document created a land of opportunities. Ever since then discouraged and oppressed people from every part of the world have made their way to our shores; there were others too – educated, affluent, seeking a new life and new freedoms in a new land.”
This, to my mind, expresses the meaning of our Constitution. The promise of freedom has drawn people to this country for generations. This same promise has nurtured our children, guided our choices, and sustained us through times of oppression. The Constitution of the United States is the Rock on which we stand in free exercise of our cultural and religious beliefs.
To make things perfectly clear, this country’s founders instituted this common agreement, the U.S. Constitution, placing within the Articles and among the Amendments, certain specified statements as to what constitutes inalienable rights, immunities and privileges before the law:
The Preamble of the Constitution, with selected Articles and Amendments, reads as follows:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“Section 8. ... To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; ...
“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
“Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish ...
“Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; ... -to Controversies between two or more States; [between a State and Citizens of another State;-] between Citizens of different States ... “
“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make ...”
“Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. ... and ...
“Section 3. ...The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory nor other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
“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.”
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”
“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
“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.”
“Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
“Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
“Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”
November 1969. Thanksgiving Day. On this day I was baptized and ordained a minister in the Universal Life Church by Reverend Ira Mullins at his house in Encinitas, California, after attending a Peace Assembly at the Universal Life Church in Modesto, California. There I met Reverend Jim Kimmel of the Universal Life Church (later Urantia Foundation; later still, Peace, Inc.) and Reverend Kirby Hensely, founder and Bishop of the Universal Life Church. [see Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton (c. 1978), vol. 2, pg. 459 and 460; re: Universal Life Church.]
As a registered Minister in Lane County, Oregon, I performed legal marriages, etc. For many years I have been on sabbatical from performing many aspects of ministerial duties, however, I am still a Minister, although I do not refer to myself as “the Reverend Barry Adams.”: [Note: When this information was introduced in Court in Texas, in 1988, much of the evidence introduced was produced from an earlier Idaho case (~1982-83) involving the defendant Michael John, who submitted as part of his defense one of my papers, “On Substantive Religious Assembly on Public Lands in the United States”, B. Adams, beaplunker (c. 1981-1982)].
Reverend Ira Mullins, now passed to the skies, and Reverend Jim Kimmel were arrested in California and sought to employ the religious use defense in 1969; i.e. marijuana as sacrament [see Rainbow Oracle, Rainbow Family (c. 1971)].
September 1970. Vortex I, Biodegradable Festival of Life, near McIver Park, Oregon. This was an event sponsored by various people of a common creed and culture, namely, that of seeking peace ways and peace assemblies. It was also sanctioned by Governor Tom McCall of Oregon; for the purpose of presenting a “peace alternative” to the “war/anti-war” situation taking place in Portland.
This was the spawning grounds of the Rainbow Family, which eventually formed out of the folks who met at Vortex, worked in service to the People, and stayed to help clean up and restore the land afterwards. We got together as clean-up crew and rode out of Vortex as the “Rainbow Family”. (“Rainbow” is an umbrella name denoting a “spiritual association of individuals, a peaceable assembly on common ground”.) At Vortex we gathered with amplified music; B.B. King, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Santana, all played for free. This common ground, and the activities that take place upon it, are free expressions of the people – bound in the exercise of religious liberty, political expression, and redress of grievance. In fact, such peaceable assemblies are ways in which the People – a recognizable minority known by many names: hippies, ‘60s people , flower children, etc. – are provided with a “soapbox” to speak out to their government, to each other, and to society. [Note: Subsequent to Vortex, Woodstock, Altamont, and Celebration at Big Sur (all held in 1969), various “rock festival laws”. “outdoor mass gathering acts”, etc, were passed to infringe up,n and hinder these events from taking place [eg, Sunrise (1971), Satsop (1971), Sky River Festival (1970), and Dinosaur Valley events (all in Washington state) were all interfered with under similar laws soon thereafter].
This peace alternative, Vortex I, Biodegradable Festival of Life was attended by up to 75,000 persons, including individuals, communes, small hippie style tribes, etc. I personally met with Governor McCall when he flew in to the grounds at Vortex and met the clean-up crew. Our friendship with Governor McCall extended through the years afterwards; individuals of the Rainbow met many times with Governor McCall [Note: Vortex was one of the few times that a large scale Peace Gathering was held with governmental sanction – even though the event was completely surrounded by National Guard troops during the event.] Like many other events and peace gatherings such as the Human Be-Ins, Vortex was truly an assembly of the people of a common creed – the creed of PEACE [see Rainbow Oracle, “How to Blow Minds and Influence People”, Rainbow Family (c. 1971); also Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?, B. Adams, beaplunker (c. 1988)].
1971. Eugene, Oregon. Rainbow Family of Living Light, Inc. In 1970, after Vortex I, a number of individuals gathered in and around Eugene, Oregon. By this time “Rainbow Farm”, “Rainbow House”, “Rainbow Street People”, “Folk/Freak Carnival and Circus”, were names of places and affinity groups within the Peace Experience, or Peace Culture.
At Rainbow House, the Rainbow Family opened its door (of this rented house) to the People, and began to feed and care for people. In the midst of this, various juveniles were being “turned over” to our custody by the police, who had nowhere else for them to go, and even by the state kid prisons, i.e. juvi halls. Eventually, some bureaucrat heard about this and demanded that we become a legal foster home for these discarded young-uns. Therefore, some of us from the Rainbow Family decided to become incorporated as a church in the State of Oregon as “Rainbow Family of Living Light, Inc.” For the next year, we were recognized as a legal foster home in the State of Oregon and we continued to receive otherwise unwanted kids into our family. [see Rainbow Family of Living Light, Inc., papers filed with State of Oregon 1970-1971; see also, Rainbow Oracle; see also Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?].
Sometime after this incorporation in Oregon, which legally lasted only for a year, the Rainbow Family of Living Light was included in the Encyclopedia of American Religions, compiled by J. Gordon Melton. In 1988, this article was introduced as evidence against me and the Rainbow Family [see later section, “Family, Culture, Creed”, for full excerpt].
1972. World Family Gathering, sponsored by the Rainbow Family of Living Light, at Strawberry Lake near Granby, Colorado and at Table Mountain, near Grand Lake, Colorado. Some of us got together before and around 1971 and embarked on a visionary quest. In 1971, we wrote the Rainbow Oracle, which included numerous articles and “raps” describing our vision and the original Invitation to the Gathering in 1972. I helped write the Rainbow Oracle; including a rap “On Marijuana as Sacrament” [see below, section titled “On Marijuana as Sacrament”, for excerpt] We printed 5,000 copies, and distributed these around the country. A copy was delivered to each member of the House of Representatives and Senate in Congress in Washington D.C. (Senator Childs of Florida replied to us that he had received the book and our invitation to the Gathering in 1972. President Nixon’s White House also sent us a nice letter, which was printed in the Oracle.).
We wore the invitation tie-dyed on our shirts, walked down the streets, walked into radio stations, TV stations, networking folks along the way. We invited each and everyone we could personally, hoping that at least 144,000 folks would show up in Colorado in 1972.
Late in 1971, I went to Colorado and talked to a Forest Service District Ranger. Together we travelled to an area in the National Forest, a place of rivers and meadows (not the gathering site), where we stood together and we talked about what a grand country we lived in that provided such wonders as National Forests for folks to gather in.
A few weeks later in Eugene, Oregon, I was asked (summoned) to come to Denver, Colorado to the Regional Office and explain myself. I and some other folks went and spoke to the gathered Forest Service and cops. They told us/me: no way can you gather. The government said we could not gather; there was no such activity on public land, period. We left undeterred, feeling/knowing full well that we must gather, because of our visions and dreams. Great Spirit-Creator wills us to gather.
In June, 1972, I came to Colorado, where people had already begun to gather. The Government blockaded the Gathering. So I went to the ACLU’s Nathan Davidavich, and we went into Federal District Court in Grand Junction, Colorado, where the judge ruled that we could not get an injunction against the blockade – i.e. we lost!
Then on June 30, 1972, the People walked out of the “holding area” (private land offered to the people for sanctuary). We walked through the police blockade. We walked all the way to Grand Lake, along the lake, and on up to Strawberry Lake, miles and miles away. And the Gathering gathered. On the Fourth of July at noon, the People who had walked from Strawberry Lake the night before, and others, gathered on Table Mountain in silence: to give honor and respect, etc. [see invitation].
At one point during the Gathering, I stood in a circle of police and FBI, took a joint of marijuana, and on police cameras I lit the joint of marijuana, offered it up as sacrament, and offered it to my friend Reggie. This was on live TV with police cameras and all these police as witnesses.
In these days there was no permit process; the governments – city, county, state, federal (many agencies) – simply told us we could not gather at all.
1976. Montana. Through the years we held other Gatherings, and finally in 1976 in Montana (over my objections at the time), Rainbow Family signed a permit. There were subsequent permits signed until 1980 in West Virginia. Prior to the Gathering in Montana 1976, officials and newspaper editors called for “vigilante” action against Rainbow people. My house was attacked, my baby son Sunny, the mother of my child, and myself, among others, were shot at on several occasions. My mailbox was shotgunned and my landlord was threatened with being lynched. We were told at an official meeting at Glacier Park that Rainbows could not gather anywhere in Montana or in the Northwest. We gathered, swarmed together, drawn by the Spirit and the earth to come home.
1977. New Mexico Gathering. At this Gathering, I was issued a ticket for parking an emergency vehicle at the wrong spot near the Welcome Center. A Forest Service law enforcement officer issued me this ticket because I objected to his actions. A crew of women had arrived at the Gathering, parked their car at the Welcome Center (a restricted area for emergency vehicles only), and then proceeded down into the Gathering, where they announced and gathered a Sister’s Council. This was a time/place for sisters to speak; if any brothers were present, they could listen to the sisters.
Meanwhile, I was in a Shanti Sena vehicle (volunteered), and had just returned from a mission. “Shanti Sena” means peace scenes – a name for volunteers who look to the security and safety of the People. In our Gatherings “everyone is Shanti Sena”, however, some folks act as volunteers for extra duties. The Forest Service officer came to ticket the cars at the Welcome Center, except for agreed-upon emergency vehicles. He was going to ticket the women’s car when I objected, stating that it was necessary for the various vehicles to be there. The officer then said something to the effect that, “your sisters are a bunch of bitches!”, to which I objected, saying that he had no right to call our sisters names. The officer promptly wrote me a ticket for the emergency Shanti Sena vehicle I was driving. I took this ticket under protest and did not pay it; I kept it as a souvenir for years.
Somewhere along about here, Supreme Court Justice William Douglas came to the University of Montana to speak to law students. Sunny and I went. After the speech, we went backstage and waited our turn to speak to Justice Douglas. I asked, “Justice Douglas, could you tell me if the People have the right to peaceably assemble on public land? He turned and pointed to Sunny and said,”Ask her.” (I figured he meant that the right to peaceably assemble was in the hands of the of the People).
1980. West Virginia Gathering. In June 1980, I and the Rainbow Family were in two separate court actions. In both cases I was acting pro se, as a individual, and at that time, liaison/representative of the Rainbow Family Tribal Council. In Bluefield, Virginia in June 1980, a District Judge ruled that we “had no class”, and therefore couldn’t be sued. Local persons/citizens of Pocohontas County, West Virginia had tried to sue the Rainbow Family and Forest Service on behalf of the county to stop the Gathering. Forest Service, U.S. Attorneys, and Rainbow liaisons conferred with one another, even though the Forest Service and Rainbow Family were at odds over the permit process.
Before the Gathering on the Williams River, the Forest Service decreed we “would gather at Gauley Mountain”. Rainbow did not agree because of the unsafe conditions of the Gauley Mountain site; I was there. One of the more notable exchanges between Forest Service and Rainbows was at the Williams River site, when we met with Supervisor of the Forest Ralph Mumy. In the presence of other Forest Service and law enforcement, when we mentioned our First Amendment right to assemble, Mumy responded, “I don’t give a shit about your constitutional rights.” I witnessed this with others; I still have the audio tape. Our people understood how things stood between us and the Forest Service. Special Agent Dale Smallwood was assigned to this Gathering.
As a result of our disagreement with the Forest Service over the Gauley Mountain site, the Forest Service called us a “lawless group”. State of West Virginia officials also called us a “lawless group” and called upon citizens to “stop the Rainbow Gathering”. Not long after this, shots were fired at the Gathering. Two women on their way home to gather were shot/executed by locals. Jake Beard was finally tried in court in West Virginia in May, 1993 and found guilty of this crime. Others who shot at the Gathering and at our people were never arrested, even though some of them were known to law enforcement, and had even bragged about their unlawful activities in local bars and before Forest Service personnel and law enforcement. After an undue amount of pressure by authority – including harassment at our front gate, on the roads, all along the way to the Gathering – Rainbow, for a peace move, finally signed the “camping permit” under protest.
During June 1980, Forest Service had issued tickets to a number of persons for violation of the camping permit regulation. As they moved around the Gathering, they came upon a piece of plastic stretched between two trees (Hobo Hilton). No one was present, so Forest Service law enforcement issued me a ticket. I wrote “Barry Adams, Legal Liaison for Rainbow Family Tribal Council” on the ticket. On July 11, 1980, in Charleston, West Virginia, I appeared before a Federal Magistrate. My case was dismissed on a technicality and I won.
Idaho Gathering 1982. At the Idaho Gathering in 1982, Rainbow Family Tribal Council, with me acting as facilitator (because of my loud voice) for the Council Circle, went over an “operations plan agreement” word for word, comma for comma. In consensus, in the full light of day on the land, between July 1 and 7, the Idaho Council Circle of the Rainbow Family Tribal Council agreed by silence to sign the operations plan agreement with the Forest Service.
In ceremony and ritual and in full expression, Ranger Supervisor Gene Benedict spoke in Council circle and signed with us. The Rainbow Family Tribal Council and U.S. Forest Service exchanged signed agreements, and we felt it was all well and good. We all gave thanks and we were all so very happy, and we Rainbow People all called out and were glad, and we went into the Fourth of July, into our Silence, with hope in our hearts that the harassment of our people would stop.
In it all, we thought of all those among us who had suffered and been through struggles, we remembered the deaths of our people in West Virginia, in 1980. Those of us with heavier hearts stood with the People in the Silence and we too stood in hope, true hope. We knew, somehow, that the war against us was not over. Our letters to the U.S. Attorney in Idaho for judicial relief were left unanswered. In that letter we had used the words, “police state on the threshold of our church-picnic”. We were celebrating in our “cathedral of nature”. We tried to communicate and convey the pilgrimage quality of Gathering; the vibrations of journeying to New Jerusalem, or Mecca, or the Gathering.
After a few days, I received a permit in the mail, issued to me in the name of the Rainbow Family, and charging our people a $25 fee for the permit, plus 15% per annum if this was unpaid. I brought the matter of the ticket to Council, and informed the People. We hoped that it did not mean the Forest Service wasn’t living up to our agreement, our operations plan.
In our journey an attorney, Al Velarde from Washington State, took part in the conferences and councils we had with the Forest Service over the development of the operations plan agreement. Since that time, we have always had some form of operations plan/rehabilitation plan [see New Mexico 1995 letter from District Ranger].
1982-83. After the Idaho Gathering, one of our brothers got busted in Idaho and submitted one of my papers as part of his defense, “On Substantive Religious Assembly on Public Lands in the United States”(c.1981-1982, beaplunker B. Adams).
Michigan 1983. Those of us of heavier heart waited through the good summer. Some of us could not travel east to Michigan, where the relationship between Forest Service and Rainbow Family was one of the best ever; using an operations plan agreement.
Montana Family and others gathered in Montana at Corona Lake – those of us who were unable to gather in Michigan knew we had to be gathering somewhere during the days of the Gathering, July 1-7 (possibly changed to June 28-July 10 by Council in 1996). And so we gathered in our home in Montana, so we could be gathered in Spirit with our brothers and sisters gathered at home in Michigan. Many folks who cannot travel home to the Gathering to be there in the body still gather wherever they are on the days of the Gathering, July 1-7. [see Rainbow Oracle, 1972] People gather at Rainbow Valley in a similar fashion (see Gideon Israel deposition).
In Montana, the Forest Service came to me and said, “What are you and your people going to do?” I said, “I am against signing a permit, under the U.S. Constitution, First Amendment; and I think the People will council.” And the People did council and agree that the First Amendment protections of free exercise of religion, spiritual belief, common CREED (we didn’t use this word in those days but it aptly describes our shared beliefs), was our permit.
Montana Family and friends gathered in Silence on the Fourth of July at noon in concert with our brothers and sisters in Michigan. Although no permit was applied for, the Forest Service issued to “Barry Adams” a Permit for .5 of an acre at Corona Lake, unilaterally. They never asked me for the fee.
1984 California Gathering. In 1984, the Forest Service issued its first version of the “group use rules” at 36 CFR 251. When the Forest Service issued the first permit for a peaceable assembly, under 36 CFR 251, they brought it to us at the California Gathering in 1984. We then held and videotaped a meeting with the Forest Service, where we agreed on an “operating plan” for doing the Gathering. Throughout the hipstory of Gatherings, Forest Service and Rainbow Family have always cooperated with an “OPERATIONS PLAN”, with or without “official” FS approval, with or without a permitting process, with or without blockades. An “operations plan agreement” constitutes “ample alternative means of communication” to a permit, and is the “least restrictive means” of meeting the governmental interest of caring for the well-being of the land and the people.
In 1984 the Government recognized the right “to peaceably assemble for purposes of expression”, based on what they had learned from us, the gathered People. And they began to regulate and rule us out of existence.
Note: This 1984 reg gave the first legal recognition of the “right to peaceably assemble on public lands for purposes of expression” (now re-worded in the Sept. 29, 1995 regs at 36 CFR 251 and 261). The Forest Service used my sentence, out of my paper on peaceable assembly. (cool!) Also in this regulation, in a subsection, was the operations plan agreement – as another way for the Forest Service to work out health, safety, sanitation, care of the land, clean-up, etc.
Thanksgiving 1985. Arizona. In Arizona, Gideon Israel signed a ticket, like I did in West Virginia, as “LegalLiaison of Rainbow Family Tribal Council”, meaning that he was a volunteer to go to court and communicate back to the Family whether the law against us gathering was legal or not.
Gideon and I had connected in San Francisco before this Gathering; he was passing out invitations to the Gathering at Cochise Stronghold in Southeast Arizona near Tombstone. Peace Movement Northwest, the outfit that rides at Rainbow Valley now, was flying its colors in support of the Southwest peace movement. Southwest was supporting the Cochise Stronghold Gathering in a strong affinity relationship, spiritual neighbors visiting spiritual neighbors. I told Gideon about possible “legal problems” at the Cochise Gathering, because of the (then) new 1984 Forest Service reg 36 CFR 251 and 261.
When Gideon went to Federal Court in the District of Arizona before Judge Bilby, individuals of the Rainbow were there in support. Before Judge Bilby made his decision, he remanded us to “binding arbitration” with the Forest Service to work out an agreement. He addressed the entire gathered Family, as well as Gideon. An attorney Fosbinder was there and helped in the case.
On May 16, 1986 Judge Bilby issued an “order to dismiss charges”, stating that the Forest Service “regulation must not only be content-neutral, but apply to all large groups” [CR-86-027-TUC-RMB]. We had won the right to gather for the time being, but the prospect of future regulations and future struggles remained. Although Rainbow/Gideon won, we of the Rainbow Family did not really get our entire legal position across to the judge. Issues pertaining to “how” we gather, and why this is part of our free exercise, were left unresolved. [see decision U.S. v. Gideon Israel; Gideon included the religious exercise defense].
1987. North Carolina. Police blockade/invade Gathering; arrests and harassment, sickness. The police refused to allow delivery of distilled water for sick children and people. Before the sickness people observed an unmarked plane spraying the gathering with unknown emissions. The clean-up crew was arrested. [see section on “Current Regulations” for more discussion.]
Federal District Judge Dave Sentelle toured the Gathering in 1987. (He now sits on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.) When last communicated with by me in 1993, he offered that he would share information on Rainbow to any who asked. He felt he got as good a deal for Rainbow, in 1987, as was possible at the time. He was afraid for us; not only were we gathering in North Carolina, but we were integrating Graham County. Signs saying “nigger don’t let the sun set on you here in Graham County” were posted at the county lines when Rainbow Family came to gather. We took these signs down as we entered. To be fair, my friends, an integrated couple with mixed blood kids, black and white, thought the local folks in the stores, etc. treated them well. The dangerous people, the racists, stalked in the shadows in what I called Graham “Cracker” County.
We are all relations; we walk hand in hand, black and white, red, yellow, or brown, Gentile and Jew, Protestant and Catholic, children of God and Goddess, native and foreign, Wicca and Taoist, Hindu and Krishna, Rastafarians and Rainbows, individuals and tribes, and others of similar creed and kinship.
Note: The local Cherokee and other tribal Native American people came into our Gathering and spoke in our Council, in violation of a treaty forced on them where their land was sold away from them and they were forced to go on the Trail of Tears. These folks were not permitted, by treaty, from holding ceremonies on this National Forest land, nor could they come there and gather, even with Rainbows. They came to speak against this National Forest policy in Council with us, and we gave greetings to them. A strong Cherokee woman, respected by her people, came and gave greetings to Rainbow.
Afterwards, sitting in the Arizona Desert Tribe’s yurt, the woman spoke about all the pain and problems her people were suffering in that area, from racist government policies and racist people, in and out of the Forest Service and among other government agencies, and among the local people. And she said, “After you Rainbow people are gone, our people will suffer for many months, but we are glad you came here.” I knew why she spoke. Since 1987, in North Carolina near where we gathered, Native American brothers and sisters of ours have been beaten and shot and killed for just living and gathering with Rainbow. The Forest Service tried everything they could do to keep these folks from gathering with us. Cherokees gathered with Rainbow. We pray for them, and hope someday their load will be lightened, in freedom.
1988. Texas. In March 1988, a Federal court order was issued against the Rainbow gathering “anywhere in the region of Texas”. I was a named defendant in that case [see U.S. vs. Barry Adams]; also one Joseph Knecht filed papers as a defendant, but did not appear in person. During the subsequent Gathering, “LegalLiaison” became an assigned responsibility before Rainbow Family Tribal Council.
In 1988, Justice Justice wrote an opinion that clearly reinforced our right to gather for religious and/or expressive exercise. The question, “How?”, was addressed, and this was defined in the court orders: we had to pass inspections for health and sanitation, etc. This court case included introduced evidence to show that we had leaders/authority to question the autonomous nature of our gatherings, etc. [This is reviewed in the next chapter.]
1989-95. During this period, there was no “actual” group use permit process, due to Justice Justice’s decision in 1988. However, the Rainbow Family, including myself, gathered in the National Forest in good health and safety, and we restored the land afterwards.
1991. Vermont Gathering. I was there for the clean-up and restoration, and I know it was an excellent job, including the recycling of all the garbage (see Notes to Rainbow Family Tribal Council, Red Moon Song, 1991). As far as I know, 1991 Vermont clean-up and restoration was excellent.
1992. The Gathering returned to Colorado. After this Gathering, I took a sabbatical from LegalLiaison, and from organizing Gatherings of the Rainbow.
1993. Alabama and Tennessee. Two complete Gatherings, in the same general neighborhood. Two homes, both for prayer, celebration, deliberation, Silence on the Fourth of July at noon, both peaceable assemblies. The USFS released the draft of current “group use regulations” for comment in May. People counciled and submitted comments as individuals. LegalLiaison volunteers were at each Gathering. Both Gathering sites were overrun by police forces.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has operated a police state at the Gatherings for several years. Martial law, emergency status for police and National Guard under FEMA Incident Commanders, is “quietly” applied. “Federal agents”, known and unknown, enter the gatherings to monitor “public safety”, watch and ticket people for “public nudity” or “cracked windshields” if they feel like it. Police presence is exercised in spite of the peaceful, voluntary nature of our Gathering.
In recent years, the government has been running up a tab for excessive law enforcement, air surveillance, emergency medical units, travel expenses, hotel rooms, road repair, etc, – then announcing publicly that we are costing the taxpayers so much money to gather. We do not desire or request this police presence, nor do the reports of the Gatherings establish need for extensive surveillance or an elaborate response team. Normally, disaster relief requires an act of the President; in this case agents of the government form an Incident Command Team and arrange to get paid for attending the Gathering. We on the other hand are a voluntary peaceable assembly of autonomous individuals, of our own will and determination. We are responsible for ourselves personally, and we gather in the naturally kindred spirit of our humanity, reliant on our unity to meet with necessity. Gathering reports indicate a good clean-up record, and cooperation on our part in “actual” emergency situations.
1994. Wyoming, on the old Oregon Trail, a natural Gathering site, but overgrown with even-aged second growth from clear-cut forests, and overgrazed sage meadows. The Wyoming fire is held at under two acres by Rainbow Family firefighters. FEMA attempts to evacuate the Gathering and prevent Family firefighting efforts. Council undoes formal LegalLiaison team/members, in a full light of day, silent consensus.
1995. In New Mexico, I connected with a New York Times reporter, who came in the lodge (tipi) to get out of the rain. I asked him, “How is it the government – county, state, national – can have a martial law emergency declared all around our Gatherings, here in the United States?” The New York Times writes, “Asst. Regional Supervisor says ‘Yes, 1700 cars were stopped every day, and violations occurred. However, it is for the Rainbows’ protection and for public health and safety, like a wildfire ...’”
The New York Times reporter didn’t see any problem with us being treated as a wildfire. This is a dangerous mind-set, and prejudiced against our/my wellbeing. We are a people gathered in peace, at home, with our Family. Our spirit and energy may be like a wildfire, however; we are a PEOPLE!
1996. There is now a COURT ORDER, out of Florida, to “enjoin us from assembling unless we ask for permission and get permission”. It would seem that what they call a “grandfather/grandmother clause” should apply here. First they said we had “no right to gather”, now that we do have a right to gather, but only if we do it their way. Read on ...
“LegalLiaison”, for those who need to understand. Before 1988, being “legal liaison” was just like shitter digging, parking cars, Shanti Sena, and all the other voluntary responsibilities of gatherers – an informal group of individuals who take up the task of “legal affairs” of the Gatherings to try and facilitate communications between our people and government. We negotiated in good faith; however we brought all our information back to the Tribe, back to the Council, exchanged information, and received the Council’s blessings.
LegalLiasion never had any formal recognition/definition before 1988; it existed informally and those of us who met with the Forest Service or other officials would always say something like this, “Howdy, I am an individual from the Rainbow Family. We are here to act as facilitators for communication with the Family”, not much more than that, and that “we are informal LegalLiaison.” No actual legal liaison “position” at the Gatherings has ever existed, any more than other positions existed, such as “shitter digger” or “kitchen crew” or “parking crew” or “front gate crew” or “welcome home” or “fire watch”, etc.
All of these are voluntary contributions of individuals, giving of their abilities and time, in intrinsic service to the well-being of the People and the Gathering, doing what needs to be done. All such voluntary service has “intrinsic value”; this is part of the essence (and/or ritual) of our Gatherings. Little or no necessity has existed for Council to decree or designate LegalLaiason; the exception was in Texas in 1988 [see notes on Justice Justice’s Opinion in 1988]. Everyone who gathers is LegalLiaison. This is nothing more than another volunteer group of folks who by chance, accident, design, or calling, wind up gathering legal information and sharing it with the rest of the Rainbow gathered in Council circle or elsewhere.
For many years we LegalLiaison volunteers would communicate the Constitutional position of the First Amendment right to gather in peaceable assembly on public lands for purposes of expression. During our meetings with the Forest Service, and in letters we submitted, we often use the phrase “peaceable assemblies on public lands for purposes of expression”. LegalLiaison volunteers had a loose agreement of working together; we were merely interested individuals, interested in gathering and sharing information to the family about our legal positions. For years we would gather around a coffeepot in some tipi, much like a workshop on massage or something else, and commence to do a work/play workshop on where we stood legally. At times over the years, those of us who approached the Forest Service alone usually would wind up making foolish agreements, ones we didn’t mean or want when we met them. Attorneys didn’t seem to help either; no judicial relief was in sight until Arizona and Texas.
Rainbow Family Tribal Council met on July 5, 1988 at the Texas Gathering, and consensed in silence in the full light of day to formalize LegalLiaison so that only certain volunteers who had come before Council, and been recognized by Council as such, could co-facilitate communications for/with the Family. These persons had to agree to work in cooperation with one another in peaceable ways, and they had to agree that “The Rainbow Family Tribal Council speaks only for itself, July 1 through 7, on the land, in the full light of day.”
Formal LegalLiaison was dissolved on July 5, 1994 by Council consensus; the agreement that “RFTC [Rainbow Family Tribal Council] speaks only for itself” still stands as consensus.
U.S. v. Rainbow Family
(also U.S. v. Barry Adams, pro se; and U.S. v. Joseph Knecht, pro se)
As noted above, I was pro se defendant in this case. Justice Justice wrote the opinion. Some highlights and key points are included here.
Justice Justice called Rainbow Family an “unincorporated association”. This is inaccurate. We are at best a tribe of individuals in a spiritual kinship/association, and we have no membership rolls, etc. Many of the points the government was using to try me on were that I was a person solely or collectively responsible for the entire Rainbow Family. I objected and stated there are no leaders, no followers, etc.
Justice Justice stated in his opinion that “any persons representative of this class or group can sign as representatives for this class”, which means that anyone could sign for everyone [see 1987, North Carolina]. This is incorrect. In other words, only the Council could legally represent the Rainbow Family. The Rainbow Family Tribal Council met on July 5, 1988 at the Texas Gathering, and consensed in silence in the full light of day to formalize LegalLiaison so that only certain volunteers who had come before Council, and been recognized by Council as such, could co-facilitate communications for/with the Family. These persons had to agree to work in cooperation with one another in peaceable ways, and they had to agree that “The Rainbow Family Tribal Council speaks only for itself, July 1 through 7, on the land, in the full light.
Attorney Larry Daves was hired by the Rainbow Family Tribal Council, on July 5th, 1988, in the full light of day in silent consensus, and was reimbursed for his legal fees by the court. By this action of reimbursement, the court legally recognized that the Rainbow Family Tribal Council, with all its processes, was the only legitimate body capable of hiring an attorney. (He was originally hired by individuals to represent persons who did not wish to appear as defendants.) He is to be acknowledged for his contributions to the Family in risking his personal reputation and personal moneys to contribute to its defense. Attorney Daves was hired by the Council, and granted the opportunity by Council to be paid for his legal expenses. He subsequently filed for legal compensation in Justice Justice’s court and was paid. Afterwards, Attorney Daves resigned in Council and thanked the Family for their help with his expenses. All of this was done by Rainbow Family Tribal Council to strengthen its legal position of being the only body capable of speaking for the Rainbow People gathered at that time [Note: Formal LegalLiaison was dissolved on July 5, 1994 by Council consensus. The agreement that “the RFTC speaks only for itself” still stands as consensus.]
In my case heard before a U.S. Magistrate (later all evidence was given to Justice Justice to render opinion during the “blockade” of the Gathering), the U.S. attorney tried to introduce as evidence a “consent agreement” signed by three Rainbow People with the State of North Carolina in 1987. I knew that this had been signed under protest and was therefore not valid. I indicated this to the judge and the “agreement” was withdrawn as evidence against me. This “agreement” is also referred to in the current group use regulation as indicating that individuals can sign permits on behalf of the Rainbow Family.
It says, “representatives of the Rainbow Family signed a consent agreement with the State of North Carolina in 1987.” What actually happened was three people of the Family, over the objections of many, many people, in the first light of day when everyone else was asleep, decided to sign this agreement which would be considered legally binding on all of the Rainbow Family. Two people then took the agreement in to Judge Dave Sentelle’s District Court, again over the objections of many persons in the Family. At the last moment, as they were handing the agreement to the judge, one of the three wrote on the face of the document “signed under duress”.
The day after the “agreement” was handed in to the Judge, the Rainbow Council Circle met and gave their consensus, under protest, to live up to the stipulations of the “agreement”, as far as health and safety standards for our people were concerned. (We were doing it anyway.) And we agreed in consensus not to condemn the three naive people who had acted without consensus.
We then agreed that no one can sign for the Rainbow Family without sure silent consensus of the Rainbow Family Tribal Council in the full light of day, July 1-7 on the land, in any year. The “consent agreement” itself was/is invalid; only our word is good [Note: see Clean-up letter 1995, New Mexico]. Likewise, any such agreement made in council with the government is similar to the treaties signed by other tribes. In the present 36 CFR 251, when the government stipulates that “one person can sign for the others involved, and not be held responsible”, it is not unlike the creation of “treaty chiefs”.
For example, in the Fort Laramie treaty, individuals, people of the Sioux, signed for what the U.S. Government said “was a Treaty for all the Tribes and Warriors and people of the Sioux, signed by these great chiefs”. However, there were many individuals, warriors, and other people of the various bands/tribes of the Sioux who disagreed, and who felt and expressed that no one could sign for them. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, among others, were some of these “wild” people.
Treaty chiefs were created by the U.S. Government. People who signed treaties have always done so under duress. Similarly, any individual or Rainbow Council that signs a permit for a Gathering does so under duress. This will always be the case, until the government agrees to the right to peaceably assemble for our people – in our style and our way of gathering – with an operations plan agreement, or something similar in place to protect the land and people.
The Rainbow Family, by whatever name, exists only in the imagination; therefore it cannot be a defendant in a civil or criminal case. All the named and unnamed persons in Texas 1988, except for me, refused to be defendants in U.S. vs. Rainbow Family. I was the only individual defendant who appeared pro se, like Gideon Israel (U.S. vs. Gideon Israel, Az. 1986) and Joseph Knecht, who filed papers in this matter. Individuals associated with the gathering did testify and give information to the court concerning various aspects of Rainbow Gathering, such as C.A.L.M. volunteers and others. However, these persons/individuals were not defendants and did not “represent the Council in court”. These individuals were there to give “experience and information” to the court for the court’s better understanding.
On July 5, 1988, the Rainbow Family did hire attorney Daves for his help in defending defendant’s rights not to be defendants and to act as LegalLiaison for Family (under blockade and crisis). He continued up until July 5, 1995 and then he resigned before Council, in the full light of day, in silent consensus, on July 5th, 1995.
Justice Justice did say that the Forest Service could regulate us if they do it without affecting our right to free exercise of our constitutional right to peaceably assemble. However, a set of standards for gathering were imposed on the Rainbow Family by Justice Justice’s order. With state and federal health inspectors, including an admiral from the Surgeon General’s office of the United States, the Rainbow Family and gathered folks passed with flying colors all health and safety inspections – federal, state, county, and Rainbow (C.A.L.M.).
The prosecutor introduced as evidence against me an article on “the Rainbow Family of Living Light” from the Encyclopedia of American Religions (Melton, 1978). In current context, this provides basis for “religious use” with regard to our practice of Gathering, and marijuana as sacrament [see below for excerpt].
In several ways, the decision in this case regarding “least restrictive means”, “compelling governmental interest”, and “ample alternative means of communication” comes down to what the Forest Service has proceeded to instate at 36 CFR 251 and 261; the current regulations.
Here is included more detail and observations relating to our creed: our beliefs, agreements, expressions, understandings, etc. The following article was entered by the government as evidence in the 1988 Texas case. [Melton, J. Gordon (1978), Encyclopedia of American Religions (McGrath Publishing Company: Wilmington, North Carolina), Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-78210.]
“Rainbow Family of Living Light. Growing out of the counterculture movement of the late 1960’s and conceptualized in the thinking of the Rev. Barry Adams, the Rainbow Family of Living Light is a loosely organized network of communes. The Family is truly a rainbow in its eclectic mixture of differing beliefs, concerns and practices. Typical of its eclecticism are the several religious festivals it has sponsored. The one held at Strawberry lake, east of Granby, Colorado, called together the “tribes” to give honor and respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind and nature upon this, our most beloved and beautiful world”.
“The belief world of the Rainbow Family centers upon ecology and the psychic/spiritual world much discussed in the 1960’s. Basic is a nature-pantheism expressed in the belief, “God is you, God is me, God is the World, God is the Sky, God is the Sun.” The ecological emphasis is expressed in a love of nature and of the out-of-doors. Adherents believe that everything in nature was placed there for man’s use (not abuse). Marijuana is one of the God-created herbs, and viewed as of sacramental value. All forms of pollutants are opposed.”
“The psychic world view is expressed in the incorporation of numerous practices from various bodies. The great invocation (channeled through Alice Bailey) is freely used, as is the distinction between Jesus the man and mystic Christ consciousness. Followers believe in reincarnation, but with a distinct, this-worldly interest. Christ consciousness is a mystic state, but is signaled by a person’s making others happy, doing good and giving more than is taken.”
“Love is an important goal. Loving someone is equated with heaven, and hate with hell. Sex is an expression of love. Legal aspects of marriage are no longer necessary, for when two people love each other, they are married. There are no formal acts or worship, and the formality of most religious acts is condemned. A wide mixture of Hindu chants, Christian hymns and meditative techniques are employed to reach God consciousness.”
“No membership rolls are kept; estimates range from 100 to 500 as of 1972. The Family claims as many as 10,000 among those who share its free lifestyle.”
As noted, this document was entered in 1988 in Federal Court in Texas against me. At that time, I indicated in my testimony that there were inaccuracies in the document, including the following (not excluding other inaccuracies):
To my way of thinking the Rainbow family was conceptualized in the mind of Jesus Christ (my personal witness).
I would have gone on to say that the “differing beliefs” include folks who have a political or cultural/creed as well as spiritual association.
In the beginning, those of us who wore the Rainbow “colors” lived the Rainbow Creed, which stood for the understanding that we are/were part of the I-MAGI-NATION (see Rainbow Oracle, on Vortex I).
A statement I wrote at the time, “New Jerusalem, Mandala City for All People” (c.1970-71 beaplunker, B. Adams) included this:
“Wherever grass grows, wind blows, and sun shines, it does so upon a natural child of God, a NATURAL CHILD OF Humankind, Therefore it is our natural brother or sister”
My personal witness is Jesus Christ, as a Child of God-Us, Creator, Great Spirit. I am not technically a Christian; however, I am into Jesus on the Tao. (see Where ...?)
It is commonly held, as part of our Common Creed – our common agreements of lifestyle, path, exercise of free expression – that anyone with a belly button and all our relations (a Native American expression accepted among Rainbow People) is part of our “true family”, the family of life on earth; we are related to all of life, all living beings. And my personal witness is that Creation itself is a living being.
There are no leaders, no followers of the Rainbow People. There are no elders, no priests, no preachers, no prescribed rituals but the Silence upon the Fourth of July at Noon [see “Invitation to World Family Gathering” 1972].
I was asked by the U.S. Attorney in the Federal Court in Texas, “When you tell someone...?” I interrupted the U.S. Attorney, “We try not to tell people what to do at a Rainbow Gathering.”
U.S. Attorney: “Well, when you ASK somebody to do something at a Rainbow Gathering, and they agree to do it, don’t you expect them to do it?”
I replied: “No.”
I answered in truth, “At a Gathering, even a Gathering where I may know the people who are there, and even if they agree to help out, I am still only asking. Even if they agree, and even move to go and do what needs to be done, they may or may not wind up doing the task. I would simply be bringing it to their attention.”
It is commonly held among people of our creed, our way of life, that we individuals among our culture “do our own thing”. We may have some influence on one another, but our culture and way of life is that each and every person is personally responsible for their own lives and choices. We may act in support of one another or not, we may associate or not associate, assemble or not assemble, at each moment, as it happens, in the Now.
Our spiritual kinship, our common union is achieved at each breath of our body, at each moment of our applied will, to join or not to join, to be or not to be with one another. Even when we do join at will, it is in the I-Magi-Nation.
There are people who have no relationship to a mystic or spiritual or religious life, who yet are of similar creed and relationship to life with those people who attend Gatherings who are religious or spiritual, who believe in the mystic, who accept Jesus as human, or as Son of God or savior, or any number of other beliefs. The common ground of peaceable assembly extends beyond and includes every possible religious/spiritual difference, including the belief systems of atheists and agnostics. Without this primary assertion at the foundation, there can be no covenant of religious tolerance; this is the necessary philosophical underpinning of the First Amendment, an inclusive social contract. Peaceable assembly provides much of what the founders of our U.S. Constitution sought by their work, as described in the Preamble to the Constitution [see Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and Tenth Amendment1.
These spiritual assemblies come to gather where they are by an impulse, a calling. When they first took place on Boston Common in 1775, for example, the People had no permit, nor did they stop assembling in their “natural soapbox” place of expression, simply because constituted authority neither understood nor sanctioned their peaceable assembly. People who come to gather for non-religious/non-spiritual purposes may come to redress grievances, or assemble for political expression, or simply to be with one another in peace. They often attend Gatherings, act in peaceable ways, and assemble with other peaceable people, in free expression and exercise of their political or personal beliefs. They are not less-respected or condemned, or set apart any more than folks who are Hebrew or Catholic, Hindu or Buddhist, into Jesus or the Goddess, eat vegetables or meat, drink coffee or tea. None shall be set apart. Part of the creed which gathers the Rainbow and others is tolerance of differences in peaceable ways.
Some folks within the Gatherings call themselves, or are called by others, such names as “elders”, “keepers of sacred sacrament”, or “leaders”, or “chiefs”, etc. Among our people it is widely held that a person, an individual, can call themselves anything they want, and we have a full range of names. Such “titles” have little or no meaning beyond some one person’s identification. [Note: Some such names are used in the recent U.S. vs. Rainbow Family complaint, issued Feb. 16, 1996, in Florida.]
Gatherings, particularly Rainbow style gatherings, are free and open to all, composed of individual volunteers who work in service to do the myriad tasks necessary for peaceable assembly. Over the years, many of the same individuals attend and work in service as volunteers at these peaceable assemblies, and this is honored and respected. However, there is no hierarchy, no membership lists, and no official titles. This is the way it has been since the beginning.
I have been termed a “founder” of the Rainbow. It is true that I had a “vision” when I was very young in Montana that led me to Table Mountain on July 4, 1972. However, I see myself as being someone who “found” and “was found”, like in the song Amazing Grace. “I once was lost, but now I’m found”. When I left the U.S. Navy in 1966, I lived in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and walked on Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco – and the media and tourists called us “HIPPIES”. We called each other “brother” and “sister,” acknowledging our spiritual kinship, even before we knew each other in any personal ways. Before we called ourselves Rainbow, we called ourselves “the Family of Three Lights”, “Outlaws of Marblemont”, “Morning Star Ranch”, “Wheeler’s Ranch”, “Church of Ahimsa”, “Diggers”, “Family of Mystic Arts”, “Hog Farm Family”, “Family Dog”, “The Farm in Tennessee” (see Stephen Gaskin’s books), etc.
I am one of the “earlies” of the Rainbow (as I call it). It is true, I have been in the first circles of our Rainbow People, and before that all the way back to the first “Human BE-IN” in January, 1967, back to the Haight-Ashbury days, where the first circles of our People (in the 1960s) took place when we were sitting around the rooms in the “crash pads”, passing joints of marijuana and food to one another. Most of us barely knew one another, yet we gathered in peace, in the park or in the crash pads or on the street, and shared our way of life and established our common creed. [see Haight-Ashbury Oracle, 1966; Rengelevio, by Emmett Grogan; also, Rainbow Oracle, How to Blow Minds and Influence People, Where Have All the Flower Children Gone?]
Ever since the beginning of gathering, since we in the clean-up crew at Vortex rode away calling ourselves “Rainbow Family”, some of us, different individuals so moved, have always stayed behind to help restore the Earth. It is very much a part of the Gatherings to “leave no trace”, and “go lightly on the land”. We gather in Nature not to trample or destroy, but to celebrate and BE with our kindred nature, and give thanks that it is in balance, and then give back and “make peace” with the earth as we are there and as we leave.
In my personal spiritual life, this is my personal word between myself and the earth. The earth is a living being, the earth calls me home to the gathered swarm of people, where I learn respect and show respect to any and all who have gathered and to the earth itself. When I feel this call, it is so strong that I know, in the face of oppression or intolerance or governmental misunderstanding or misconduct, that I will still gather. I will still swarm with my people, in my free home, and when the Gathering is over – because of my respect of the earth and of the gifts God has given me – I will help replenish, restore, and clean-up the mess of humankind, and help restore the earth and restore the people, as I am part of humankind and I live here, and it was our people who first stood forth in silent consensus in Council circle with freedom and responsibility.
Our cultural use of the herb, marijuana, dates back to the beginning of the Hippie movement/generation, or Peace Experience. In 1971, I wrote the following rap, which was included in the Rainbow Oracle:
On Marijuana as Sacrament (c.1972)
“The Lord gave us all the herbs of the earth, all plants for our use.” (Genesis)
“This really says it all: the Lord gave us a whole world to watch over and to protect and to enjoy living in and what we do. We fight over what He gave us and what we should use it for, leaving aside so many other issues that we could take up. We will settle upon one of the most basic of human rights: what we as a people have the right to ingest in our bodies.”
“We assume that we are all equal children, subject to God’s will and law first, subject to the laws and customs of the land secondly. Jesus aptly demonstrated this by breaking the Sabbath and committing many crimes against the customs of his day here on earth, however indicating all the way thru that we should obey or be ready to go to jail. Also what is said in Romans 8, which guarantees us certain inalienable rights as well as indicating a path for this country’s people to proceed upon – one toward freedom, not away from it.”
“There are an estimated 2 million of our people locked away in prisons. These are not true criminals such as people who have committed murder, etc., but people incarcerated for “crimes” (I use that word rather loosely here) such as possessing and smoking marijuana (one of the herbs God gave us), and of course for a myriad of other charges such as speaking freely, living freely, just being free, etc. They are in prison illegally and everyone knows this; we know it is unconstitutional to imprison someone who is simply living within his equal and fair rights within the law of the land, in accordance with God’s law and will – which is again, to live according to the customs of the land. “Listen, when policeman break the law, then there is no law, only survival” (this is a quote from a movie called Billy Jack)”
“On with the movie, come on folks, consider that what is happening is causing such a foul-up in the court system. As if anyone could get a fair trial, as if they could actually present legal evidence that would free all these prisoners all over this land (and let me tell you there is enough evidence around, though most of it has been considered inadmissible in courts). Remember, they tried Our Lord unjustly (out of ignorance) and they are trying us and you. You are us; we are you ... undeniable fact.”
“Now Willy Mimzy and Rev. Jim Kimmel both live in California. Both are involved in cases wherein they have used grass as sacrament, same and similar to the Native American Church (who incidentally do not worship the plant but rather the Great Spirit that gave them the plant). And to the Catholic and other churches that take communion, grass is bread, manna from heaven. You may deny it because you are afraid or have heard stories about what using it leads to, but there are folks almost everywhere that use marijuana.”
“I have to admit there are a lot of very uptight self-righteous Jesus People running around, most of whom got that way from doing hard dope and blowing it, then crying out for help and having some other uptight self righteous Jesus person come along and lead them to the Lord. This is alright, ‘cepting about the uptight, self righteous part. Better the religious leaders and political leaders worry about being right with God and stop persecuting His children. We are the children of God; we worship and live according to His will and word; we interpret the law and will of God – like unto Jesus who had to be an open minded and beautiful persona as well Lord of Lords.”
“Anyone who has a mind that could create marijuana and place it upon the earth must have known that we’d use it. The Lord does not tempt us; only doubt and fear and evil people keep us from knowing God by not living His will and Law. Come on, loosen up folks, really! Check out the facts of living on this earth. Fear grips our hearts and you don’t know how to communicate with your kids or neighbors. Things are closing in, but realize that by preventing people from living and having basic human rights, let alone the rights that God gives, you increase the tribulation and bring it down on your and our heads.”
“Investigate this that I say; if you’re interested in these two particular cases before the courts, contact Rev. Jim Kimmel, Religion of Jesus Church. Contact Willie Mimzy, defense for the Psychedelic Venus Church. This kind of imprisonment for use of marijuana only constitutes a few of the cases coming before the courts confiding human rights. (For more information contact your local ACLU legal aid society, or anybody in your town that is involved in draft counseling or working for anti-war legislation.) It is all the same one thing or trip; one denial of human rights takes away from the chances of this country becoming a free nation of this world. Then truly we will be able to hold up our heads and say, “Yes, I live in the land of the free and home of the courageous”. Right now, however, too many people have got their heads in the sand. Perhaps you have had your head in the sand, too. Please look; there is enough misery in the world as it is, without the misery incurred by your inaction.”
This was written years ago, and a lot of it is true and still true. Only the number of millions has changed, because so many have been arrested and persecuted since then. Both Willie Mimzy and Rev. Jim Kimmel were prosecuted and convicted.
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 cheering voice for those who made the journey.
The situation our people faced was twofold: they did not walk over the land with the Ranger for inspection at the end of the clean-up, and 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 threshold 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 every day 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 ranger 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 by itself is not good enough. (see 36 CFR 251 Fed. Reg. vol 60. 1995).
In 1987 in 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 Justice Justice ordered federal marshals in to oversee the relationship between Forest Service special agents and the 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 RV 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 Commander, Special Agent Billy Ball, to allow this RV 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 RV 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 and 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 the 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].
Discrimination Against Our “Recognizable Minority”
In 1937, the 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 and recreational relationship between marijuana smoking and “race-mixing” i.e. to stop people of differing cultures, colors, shared beliefs, and creeds from assembling or associating peaceably.
At various times over the years since 1993, 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 elements/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”, “‘60s people”, “new age people”, “now age”, “rainbows”, “deadheads”, etc. This recognizable culture is noted for its common creed:
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 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, and the discussion turned to the death of his son, his son’s love of hawks, and 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 message 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 have been, by this regulation the dad or son or someone else with them 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 by planning, vision, spiritual or religious insight, political or cultural belief, dreams, fate, circumstance, incidence, accidence, 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, and it 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 England, the Caravan Sitings Act of 1976 dealt with the idea of recognizing renowned caravan [house trailer] 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 renowned, 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 sets 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, they all 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, where 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 these – for whatever reasons, mystical or scientific, spiritual or religious, individuals 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 compels 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 and 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 regulations over something so innate as gathering. So intrinsic it is 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 sanctuaries of truth or speech.
“Soapbox” opportunities come with some place to stand and have free”speech.
Freedom of expression extends to actual speech and 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 and ideas, worship, use of marijuana (and other herbs) 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 peaceable events such as Woodstock 1969 and Woodstock 1995, a commercial potential existed, these events themselves became, by virtue of the People exercising their rights to peaceably assemble, 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, their freedom of religious/ethical self-determination, and their ethical creed of tolerance/celebration of peaceable difference. These 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 association 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 i.e. our peaceable assembly, which 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 reflect our diversity and our individual differences. Hence we, as a culture, include persons with religious relationship to marijuana, persons with healing relationship to marijuana (i,e, 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, or associate for prayer or worship, exercise their religious/political/cultural creeds, liberties, or rights to petition for redress of grievances, and otherwise 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 guise 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 government’s “justifications” of compelling interest have been health and safety laws, environmental regulations, festival and noise ordinances, etc.
Through the years, particularly since the 1960s, 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 and various individuals and citizens, comes down to protecting constitutional guarantees for the exercise of civil liberties of speech, worship, assembly, association, expression, redress of grievances, and 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 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, 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 that if you are going to attend an event or peaceable assembly where “certain elements” are included – such as a Grateful Dead concert (not too long ago); or Earth First Round River Rendezvous; or an American Peace Test at the Nevada nuclear test site near Mercury, 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., and be there recreationally or with purpose. Authorities generally utilize minimal means of restricting ingress and egress of such places and events. 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 i.e. 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 1700 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 were 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 to it happening 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”].
TV 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], where 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, all have a documented history of police interference and judicial proceedings [see Thomas v. U.S. Park Police; also, Clark v. C.C.N.V.), also Rastafarian ruling, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Feb. 2, 1996.]
Exercise of rights of religious liberty, political expression, cultural lifestyle creed, freedom of speech, right of peaceable assembly, right to redress of grievance.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993; (Public Law 103-141 (H.R. 1308)) was passed on November 16, 1993. This act reaffirms First Amendment protection of free exercise of religion, and allows for claims and enables use of “religious practices” in claims and defense under the law. The following provides some background on the act, its text, and notes on its application to cases involving use of marijuana as sacrament and other religious/cultural practices of the recognizable hippie minority/culture, in particular Gathering as a form of spiritual expression.
In 1989, the Ganja Root Church of South Florida sought a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court concerning their right to use marijuana as a religious sacrament. The Ganja Root Church of south Florida are Rastafarians. They lost.
The Supreme Court ruled there was a compelling governmental interest, i.e. the drug laws against marijuana, and therefore First Amendment rights must be curtailed i.e. right of free exercise of religious beliefs, marijuana as sacrament.
In 1990, in Employment Division v. Smith (494 U.S. 872, 108 L. Ed. 2d 876, 110 S. Ct. 1595 (1990), individuals in association (members) of the Native American Church, who use peyote as a form of sacrament, argued that peyote use is intrinsic to their shared beliefs, an essential part of their free exercise of religious liberty. Again, the sacrament in question was a controlled substance, treated as a criminal violation of the “drug laws” i.e. War on Drugs. This case was brought to the Supreme Court, where the Native American individuals involved petitioned for the right to exercise their religious liberty. They lost.
A third case, around 1992, affected the Santeria religious people, in south Florida. These folks were brought to suit for one of their practices in which they get together, search out a goat (among other animals), cut its throat in a ceremonial way to catch its blood, then open its belly and read its entrails for signs and messages of prophesy, etc. After this they drink the blood, cook the goat and eat it, all of which is done in an obviously ritual and ceremonial way. This religion came from a blend of African and Catholic rituals in the Caribbean; only they truly know the full intrinsic value of their ritual. These folks were issued an animal abuse violation, which they took to the Supreme Court, where they too lost.
Naturally, the Catholic Church, the Hebrew people, and the National Council of Churches, among others, immediately saw danger in these Supreme Court rulings.
For the Hebrews and many Christians this could signal infringement on Passover, wherein the “blood of the lamb” was placed over the doorways of those people who listened to God through Moses. This is only one instance.
For the Catholics and many Protestant peoples who take Holy Communion, this came very close to home; if you are of the Faith and join the Church, or through grace participate in Communion, then you “eat of the body and drink of the blood of Christ”.
Therefore, a great majority of the “organized religious groups” lobbied Congress to construct an act to restore religious liberty, to restore the free exercise of religions, and they specifically mentioned Employment Division vs. Smith.
All of the current crop of Presidential candidates either lobbied for, or were part of the congressional group that sponsored the act, or were part of the citizenry in support of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This includes President Bill Clinton, who signed the act into law in November (see President Clinton, record of statements).
(For legislative history of this act, see Report for P.L. 103-141 in U.S.C.C. & A.N. Legislative History Section.)
For the whole text of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, go here.
(editors note: In the original, the whole text of the RFRA act was reprinted)
Under civil rights laws, persons, citizens have the right to protection of laws regardless of race, color, or creed, including religious beliefs, exercise of religion, and rights to free speech and expression. The entire concept of due process of law means that every person, every citizen of the United States, is governed equally in sight of the law. In other words, what goes for those with religious beliefs goes for folks with political beliefs, or of every race, color, or creed. [see Brown vs. Board of Education; and Articles and Amendments to U.S. Constitution]
Additionally, several recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that the Supreme Court values First Amendment rights to freedom of expression. Specifically, in a case involving the Irish War League vs. the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual Alliance of Boston, the U.S. Supreme Court, in June 1995, ruled that the Irish War League have the right to their own “soapbox” and the right to exclude any one not of their expression. Justice David Souter wrote the opinion.
This meant that civil rights laws which normally would affect such cases take second place to the rights of free speech and expression, as established by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Definition of creed, according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:
Middle English crede, from Old English creda, from Latin credo (first word of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds), from credere to believe, trust, entrust; akin to Old Irish cretid he believes, Sanskrit srad-dadhati
1. A brief authoritative formula of religious belief.
2. A set of fundamental beliefs; also ; a guiding principle.
Jah Rasta Far I will lead the Way! February 2, 1996
In 1996, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ruled that under the Religious Freedom Practices Act of 1993, a “religious use defense” may be used in cases concerning possession and use of marijuana. Some points of the case are included here.
(U.S. App. LEXIS 1458 cases: No 94-30073, 94-30074, 94-30075, 94-30076, 94-30084, 94-30171 94-30178 July 19, 1995 * Argued and submitted, Seattle, Washington. These are appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Montana:)
Decision. The decision reads as follows [p. 7]:
“The district court first found that the challenged law substantially burdened the free exercise of the Rastafarian religion. Relying on several earlier appellate cases, the district court held, however, “that the government has an overriding interest in regulating marijuana”. The District Court quoted Leary v. U.S. 383 F. 2d 851, 861 (5th Cir. 1967), rev’d on other grounds, 395 U.S. 6, 23 L. Ed. 2d 57, 89 S. Ct. 1532 (1969), as follows: “It would be difficult to imagine the harm which would result if the criminal statues against marihuana were nullified as to those who claim the right to possess and traffic in this drug for religious purposes. For all practical purposes the anti-marihuana laws would be meaningless, and enforcement impossible.”
The District Court concluded that the government’s in limine motion would have been granted even if the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had been the law of the land at the time.
Bauer, Meeks and Treiber appealed the district court’s rulings as to the religious use of marijuana. In the Ninth Circuit the ruling came back this Way [p. 6]:
“II. Religious Use Defense Under The Religious Freedom Restoration Act
“Calvin Treiber, Dawn Meeks, and Lexi Bauer have presented themselves as Rastafarians. We focus here on an issue of first impression: the interaction of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 with the claim of use by Rastafarians of marijuana for religious purposes. ”
“Treiber, Meeks, and Bauer asserted that they are Rastafarians and were Rastafarians at the time of the charged offenses, and that Rastafarianism is a recognized religion. It is a religion which first took root in Jamaica in the nineteenth century and has since gained adherents in the United States. [See Mircea Eliade, Encyclopedia of Religion 96-97 (1989)]. It is among the 1,558 religious groups sufficiently stable and distinctive to be identified as one of the existing religions in this country. [See J. Gordon Melton, Encylopedia of American Religions 870-71 (1991)]. Standard descriptions of the religion emphasize the use of marijuana in cultic ceremonies designed to bring the believer closer to the divinity and to enhance unity among believers. Functionally, marijuana – known as ganja in the language of the religion – operates as a sacrament with the power to raise the partakers above the mundane and to enhance their spiritual unity.”
“The religious issue was first raised in June 1993 by Meeks who sought funds under 18 U.S.C. 3006A(e)(1), which provides that counsel for a person financially unable to obtain expert services necessary for adequate representation may request the funds in an ex parte application. Counsel for Meeks sought money to pay for a physician to testify as an expert on her medical needs and a theologian to testify as an expert on her use of marijuana for both religious and medicinal reasons. The motion was denied by the District Court.”
“On September 24, 1993, the District Court granted the government’s motion in limine to preclude the appellants from presenting testimony or evidence on their possession or use of marijuana for religious purposes as a legal defense. The District Court granted the motion ‘upon review of the pleadings’. The District Court relied on Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 108 L. Ed. 2d 876 110 S. Ct. 1595 (1990).”
Later on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed. The defense for these folks entered it in the case [p. 7]:
“On November 17, 1993, the defendants drew the District Court’s attention to the report of the President’s signing of the bill and, while professing not to know whether it was retroactive, renewed their objection to the court’s in limine ruling. Counsel for Treiber moved to reverse the court’s order “with regard to the First Amendment defense”. Counsel for Meeks joined in Treiber’s motion. Bauer was already recognized as joining all relevant defense motions. The court did not change its position. Meeks also requested the District Court to instruct the jury to use the balancing test of Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 10 L. e. 2d 965, 83 S. Ct. 1790 (1963), and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 32 L. Ed. 2d 15, 92 S. Ct. 1526 (1972), in accordance with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The district court refused to grant the request.”
The Ninth Circuit did not agree, and stated that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did apply, and the defendants [p. 10]:
“The district court treated the existence of the marijuana laws as dispositive of the question whether the government had chosen the least restrictive means of preventing the sale and distribution of marijuana. The district court relied on a drug case decided before the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We do not exclude the possibility that the government may show that the least restrictive means of preventing the sale and distribution of marijuana is the universal enforcement of the marijuana laws. Under the RFRA, however, the government had the obligation, first to show that the application of the marijuana laws to the defendants was in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and second to show that the application of these laws to these defendants was the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. The denial of the Rule 29 motion was in error as to the counts of simple possession.”
“As to the counts relating to conspiracy to distribute, possession with intent to distribute, and money laundering, the religious freedom of the defendants was not invaded. Nothing before us suggests that Rastafarianism would require this conduct. These counts stand. As to the three counts on which the appellants were convicted of simple possession, the exclusion of the religious defense was in error.”
“Treiber, Meeks and Bauer may be retried on the possession counts. The government should be free to cross examine them on whether they, in fact, are Rastafarians and to introduce evidence negating their asserted claims. It is not enough in order to enjoy the protections of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to claim the name of a religion as a protective cloak. Neither the government nor the court has to accept the defendants’ mere say-so.”
There are now some 400 Gatherings or more each year, in different locales, in different places on public Lands, in other countries, on private lands, all around the earth. Little or no formal connection exists among all these different individuals who gather in different places. However, the guiding principles, the common creed, is peaceable assembly in the Rainbow Style – free and open to all, etc. The way the Rainbow gathers on public lands or other places is as much a practice of their beliefs as a High Mass is for Catholic people who are gathered for that purpose.
Under RFRA (1993), O’Hara v. Andrus would be overturned – not as to the safety and health requirements, etc., but on the “necessity to have an authorization by Forest Service” to pass a “religious test”, a “First Amendment test” on whether the Gathering is First Amendment or not. RFRA also addresses whether the “generally applicable laws” stated in 36 CFR 251 and 261, which are self-described as rules to ensure “no conflict with other administrative uses of applied for lands” (such as cattle leases, timber leases, etc.) would/could give these other activities standing that could/would supersede First Amendment rights to public ingress and egress to public lands. There are few places, particularly with water and meadows, located anywhere in the public lands that are not under lease by rancher, farmer, or other commercial interests etc. No opportunity to gather would be the option under 36 CFR 251.
Also, no forest plans in any Forest Service district appear to consider peaceable assembly grounds. In no planning conferences is the matter brought up, nor are there any provisions in any Forest Service district or regional office’s planning options to accommodate the Constitutional provision for peaceable assembly [This is mentioned in 36 CFR 251]. Therefore, there are no other options for citizens but to find their own gathering/peaceable assembly grounds, and to gather.
The Forest Service knows full well that Rainbow people, and others like ourselves, feel very deeply about the belief that only the Creator has dominion over the earth. The earth is not owned, nor can it be. The Federal Forest Service personnel are “caretakers” of the Public Lands, held in common trust for the enjoyment of all citizens. The Forest Service knows that the best way to work with Rainbow style Gatherings (which are unique and have intrinsic value), is to allow them to happen as they are, and by reaching a cooperative operations plan agreement with the gathered people. An operations plan is the least restrictive means, allows for ample alternative means of communications, and is in the compelling governmental interest.
Gideon Israel, Rainbow Valley, 1996:
In 1976, at Love Israel’s house, the Church of Jesus Christ at Armegeddon, in Seattle, Washington, I met Jeff McMonagle, who was then joining up with the Love Family. Jeff had been one of the “original” folks in the Dinosaur Club, a group who dedicated themselves to social transformation (freedom of expression) through rock and roll style Family Gatherings at Dinosaur Valley [Note: see Gideon Israel deposition].
Later on in 1977, Jeff’s name was changed by the Church of Jesus Christ at Armegeddon to Gideon Israel. At different times Gideon and I have gathered at different places: at gatherings of the Rainbow Family, gatherings of the Love Family, Peace Concerts in Seattle, Peace Gatherings in Rainbow Valley, etc. For many years we were part of the volunteers for LegalLiaison for the Rainbow Family Tribal Council. Gideon went on to found Rainbow Valley, and still gathers with the Rainbow on public land at times. However, his concentration has been Rainbow Valley for a number of years.
Recently, as of Nov. 1995, Gideon Israel received a summons for violation of a noise ordinance. This summons was invalidly applied: improper service of process plus apparent collusion upon the part of various governmental officials in order to infringe upon Gideon’s right to religious liberty.
Rainbow Valley was established as an exercise in religious liberty by Gideon Israel, who has a creed, a guiding principle for his life work, based on Jesus Christ, his understandings of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and their applicability to the needs of the people of this day.
In short, Gideon established Rainbow Valley as a place for peaceable assemblies, as a sanctuary for the free expression of the exercise of religious liberties and the rights of the people to make a “joyful noise” unto the Lord. During certain days, events take place wherein persons, citizens, come from near and far, numbering into the thousands, in order to exercise their rights of speech, religious liberty, and to redress grievances.
The People come to hear music, view arts, and other forms of expression, and by their presence and their actions of being with one another in a peaceable assembly, to freely express the nature of their being, their shared beliefs of living in peace on a common ground together, under specific agreements to promote the common good and the general welfare of the people assembled [see rules for entry into Rainbow Valley and Gideon Israel deposition].
As part of trustee Gideon’s personal religious belief that the People need to have a place to freely express themselves, Rainbow Valley has become a sanctuary for those with little or no other acceptable place or opportunity to express themselves and to redress grievances i.e. Rainbow Valley becomes a forum for soapboxes, upon which those with little or no other recourse for expression may come under the agreements for entry into Rainbow Valley, and may, in fact, express their truths, their grievances, and their cultural liberties.
Recently, some persons came to Gideon and asked to hold a “rave”, which is an exercise in expression wherein persons who freely associate express themselves through music and dance and association, and express their shared belief of transforming society through these raves.
In accordance with the agreements for entry into Rainbow Valley, these ravers made agreements to respect the peace gathering ways of Rainbow Valley and to give a donation to the cause of defending the exercise of religious liberties (as stated on public invitations to Rainbow Valley). This is in accordance with other activities also taking place at Rainbow Valley.
Wounded Earth Environmental Project (WEEP) has co-sponsored the Earth Restoration Faire at Rainbow Valley the first weekend of August of each year, since 1994. WEEP volunteers approached Gideon Israel and asked if their right of expression could be exercised in the sanctuary that Rainbow Valley offers, as a forum for expressions of peace. Gideon agreed.
In many ways, each event at Rainbow Valley and each event that Gideon sponsors, in previous years and now, has had a consistent guiding principle, which is also a major principle of Gideon’s own creed and the free exercise thereof – the principle of peace gathering, a common ground open in peace to all people.
Compelling Governmental Interest.It is a compelling governmental interest that there be places, sanctuaries, forums for truth, open places for “soapboxes”, established for the People. It is in the governmental interest that such places be open for the People/Citizens to peaceably assemble to exercise their rights of religion and political expression.
It is a compelling governmental interest to weigh the balance of thousands and thousands of persons coming together in peaceable assembly versus the disturbance of a few individual citizens who are adversely affected by the presence of those same thousands and thousands of people in peaceable assembly.
In and throughout these documents and in my personal witness, there is sufficient legal grounds for Barry Adams and Gideon Israel to file a claim for judicial relief under RFRA, by which their associates , others of common creed and a recognizable minority, and Gatherers are likewise protected. The government, in 36 CFR 251 and 261, already recognizes the Rainbow Family and their Gatherings as “a religious or spiritual group”. Also, by their introduction of the article in the Encyclopedia of American Religions as evidence against me, they gave their recognition of this in federal court in 1988. In the case of Rainbow Valley and Gideon Israel, prior rulings have confirmed and protected his right to religious practice in Thurston County Washington and in federal court in Arizona. [see Ninth Circuit Rastafarian Ruling, rulings in cases against Gideon Israel, and Gideon Israel deposition.]
Gideon Israel has been a constant defendant for civil liberties, free exercise of religion, right to peaceably assemble for purposes of expression, and redress of grievances. [See U.S. vs. Gideon Israel].
Barry Adams has been a constant defendant for civil liberties, free exercise of religion, and the right to peaceably assemble for purposes of expression and redress of grievances [see U.S. vs. Barry Adams, U.S. vs. Rainbow Family].
Gideon has two cases where judges have upheld religious use defense in Thurston County, Washington; plus, Gideon claimed religious use defense in U.S. vs. Israel.
Gideon and Rainbow Valley are currently faced with an unconstitutional county noise ordinance, and the county has engaged in possible collusion and openly stated “emphasis” (selective enforcement) on Rainbow Valley and Gideon personally. A system of “generally applicable laws” is being used against Rainbow Valley to try to stop Peace Gatherings at Rainbow Valley. If successful, this will deprive Wounded Earth Environmental Project (WEEP) of a place to have the Earth Restoration Faires. (Currently, Sue and I co-sponsor these with Gideon at Rainbow Valley.) This would take away our opportunity to have a soapbox on private land for free expression for restoring the earth.
If an injunction against the Rainbow Family happens in Florida and applies elsewhere in the United States, it is possible that I, because I am a listed/known person of the Rainbow, could be prevented from travelling from where I am toward any public lands. This could be construed as possible conspiracy to violate a judge’s orders. This would take away our opportunity to have a soapbox for free expression on public lands. Between the local and state attack on Rainbow Valley, and the federal attack on the Gatherings, we are left with little or no other places of opportunity for a soapbox for our expression of views, and our expression through gathering. We, myself and Gideon, would then be effectively shut out of any place to exercise our First Amendment activities.
Therefore, I am going to co-file with Gideon in an injunction to enjoin the Thurston County officials from violating the free exercise of our religious/political liberties. We foresee similar injunctions to enjoin the State of Washington from enforcing its outdoor mass gatherings laws, and to enjoin the USDA Forest Service from enforcing its group use regulations, as applied to myself and Gideon Israel.
I/WE, as common PLAINTIFFS call for JUDICIAL RELIEF, under RFRA; FOR RIGHTS TO PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE, RIGHTS TO FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING MARIJUANA AS SACRAMENT.
We maintain and propose the following points for solution of conflicts:
Reasonable Compliance – Operations plan agreements that meet and/or exceed the applicable county, state and federal health and safety standards.
Least Restrictive Means – Voluntary compliance through the operations plan agreement allows maximum autonomy and self-reliance for the people, while allowing the government to ensure that all health, safety, and environmental goals are met; these are mutually agreed upon by government and Family. A voluntary relationship also fosters a cooperative attitude that is invaluable in the event of an actual emergency. Moreover, granting maximum autonomy encourages self-reliance rather than dependence, welfare, etc.
Compelling Governmental Interest –
(a) Peaceable assemblies are in the governmental interest because they encourage peace and “domestic tranquility” by providing a uniquely inclusive common ground within our diverse society, fostering appreciation of differences.
(b) It is very costly to wage all out war against the Rainbow Family, against people of our creed and culture. It is very costly to maintain a police state on the threshold of our peaceable assemblies. The Government could have “peace with honor” in the war on drugs (which is, to a great extent, a war against people of our creed and culture) by finally recognizing the legitimacy of our cultural practices i.e. by honoring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and by not violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Also, it must be noted that our Gatherings took place on public land before there was a permit or a regulation authorizing or not authorizing the peaceable assembly on public lands for purposes of expression, excepting the U.S. Constitution, First Amendment. When the regulation was finally issued in June 1984, Rainbow style gatherings set the tone and mood for the regulation. The regulation is tailored directly to answer to our style of gatherings. Our style of gatherings should have some protection because of “grandfather” or “grandmother” clauses. We, Rainbow people and myself, gather in a particular style which is unique in its inception, and our style of gathering (our free exercise) is as much in need of being protected as is our mere right to gather.
It is time for our RECOGNIZABLE MINORITY to obtain CIVIL RIGHTS.
Please help. We need to have several cases researched. We are working on them ourselves, as quickly as possible. All help is appreciated in love, peace, justice – especially any info on the following:
Native American Religious Freedom Act of 1979 – The current regs apply to Native American people going onto National Forest land for spiritual expression.
Irish War League v. Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual Alliance of Boston, Supreme Court, June 1995; addresses right to exclude dissimilar views from a soapbox, right of free expression.
Case in Philadelphia (?) about nuns in church being too loud.
Case of person who won right to be in a public library, even if he/she smelled bad to others.
Any cases related to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and any quotes from leading public persons, like Dole, Gingrich, etc., concerning RFRA
Additional info on “creed”, basis for a case on creed, we have a commonly held belief of peaceable assembly, etc.
Anything on becoming a recognizable minority and attaining minority status, which, under civil rights laws, includes race, color, creed. Any civil rights statements to this effect, or court cases.
Gideon and I spoke to U.S. Attorney Reginald Luster. In Florida, he said that Thursday, March 8th is when the injunction will be instated. Gideon and I are writing a personal note to Reginald Luster, and we specify in the note a request for him to drop the complaint based on constitutional grounds. We are also sending a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, Janet Reno’s office, asking for an investigation of the Forest Service, et. al., for “prosecutorial misconduct” and “selective enforcement”.
We are not planning on filing against the government in Florida at this time. My understanding is that there will be a default judgment which can be vacated later.
The government knows full well that we will gather somewhere this summer. We will swarm. The Forest Service knows if they come to our council, in the full light of day, July 1-7, on the land, Rainbow Family Tribal Council will be there, and it will work it out with them in peace, as we have done each year for nearly 25 years.
The Nez Perce people felt strongly some hundred years ago that they must walk, flee to freedom, to a free home, among their people in Canada. They left their “reservation” in Washington and walked and struggled for many days. Their story, their saga, has been told many times. Finally, after members of his tribe had been murdered and others chased for days and days, Chief Joseph surrendered in a memorial speech, “I will fight no more forever ...” Others fled to Canada to the free home, to freedom.
Rosa Parks, in Memphis Tennessee, decided she “would not be moved”, and neither would/were the many persons of all colors and creeds who walked together into places like Selma or Little Rock in the 1960s [see: Brown vs. Board of Education]. Like them, we are forced to become “freedom riders”, because freedom isn’t “just another word for nothing left to lose” (Janis Joplin).
All through the ages, people have had to learn to stand up and exercise their freedoms. I know that our people, as on the day of fire in Wyoming in 1994 and other days of blockade and police state tactics, will gather in peaceful ways. In times when our people have been murdered, like Jesus, Nancy and Vicki (West Virginia, 1980), and Dominic Moya (West Virginia 1990), and thousands have been busted or are being busted for gathering and the practice of our religious/cultural/creed beliefs – we have always gathered, in peace, with love and justice for all. See you there.
We will put any and all information out on the net for all folks to see. This injunction and subsequent infringement on my free exercise of my inalienable right to come home and gather is substantially burdening my First Amendment freedoms. However, I know, I believe, that our people, will gather, will swarm, will come home, in the Ozarks or somewhere near, somewhere over the rainbow, somewhere on this side of the police threshold, until we, our people have gathered in peace over the Fourth of July. I know we will hold hands in Silence on the Fourth of July and be glad. I know we have the right to be and to practice our beliefs.
I would like to say that there may be some inadvertent inaccuracies in this document. Anyone who has better or different information, please send to our net address at Rainbow Valley (when we shift we will notify, if possible of our next net address), or Box 8574, Missoula, MT 59807, to me, or to WEEP. I will be at this net address until March 19, 1996.
Love you all, we are proceeding to get together on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1996, to “tame the snakes of America”... for prayer and deliberation ... in a circle of peace. Please join us wherever you are or show up. If there are 75 people who show, we will go to the National Forest to be and read the regulation, and see if there is any room for our style of Gathering.
LET’S GET TO GATHER AND IT WILL BE ALRIGHT!
– thanks, for now ... BeaPlunker and Sue, Rainbow Valley folks, etc.
Harriet Tubman Lives.