On July 16, I sent the following email to the attention of the pastors of the Central Christian Church. I never received a response. This is what I wrote:
I publish a conservative blog www.GilbertWatch.com and recently learned that, at the July 4, 2012 Independence Day celebration held at Central Christian Church, some church personnel refused to allow candidates for public office collect signatures on their petitions. In fact, one gentleman who was gathering petitions and who cherishes the First Amendment Rights that many have died for, tried to explain his right to be there and exercise that right.
However, your personnel would not allow him to gather signatures, stating that he was on private property, and went so far as to call the Gilbert Police over to escort him off church property. It was a humiliating, embarrassing experience. It is a long tradition that Independence Day is one of the most popular among candidates to gather signatures allowing them to be on the ballot.
The irony is that the church practiced the very same tyranny that those who signed the original Declaration of Independence rejected. You silenced one of our most honored freedoms: political free speech. Petition gathering is the most unobtrusive form of political free speech.
I fully understand your right to remove anyone from your private property. Had this been a religious gathering for your church membership and visitors, you would be completely within your rights. I would still say you were within your private property rights, celebrating your privately funded 4th of July event, although I would question your appreciation for “Independence” Day, when you eject someone who is demonstrating the very independence you are celebrating.
Private property rights are crucial to our freedoms, and they are continually assaulted by our government. I respect those rights and support candidates such as Eddie Farnsworth and Andy Biggs who fight for them.
However, you did not fund this event with your private dollars. You accepted approximately $10,000 in taxpayer dollars, which is what it cost for police and fire protection, and some public works services. You invited the general public, and then you sold products to them. I assume you made a profit .
That is the crux of my disappointment in your actions. Had you not accepted public money, I would not be sending you this email. Of all political free speech activities, requesting signatures on their petitions is the most unobtrusive, most time-honored tradition that goes with Independence Day.
You most likely have a policy in place that no political activity is tolerated on your property. I understand that the churches have relinquished their freedom of political speech, in exchange for their tax free status.
I’m not sure why the church chose to spend significant dollars to celebrate Independence Day. For its time-honored meaning? The Founders were God-fearing people, and George Washington wrote much about being guided by God. He believed that God had His Hand in creating our country.
The gentleman you escorted off the property is running for Gilbert School Board. He is a conservative Christian who is willing to stand up and fight against the insidious secularization of our public schools. Even something as simple as reinstituting the Invocation in School Board meetings will be met with long, intolerant knives. He doesn’t want to run for school board. It doesn’t pay anything, and it will bring him and his family endless headaches. He’s running because he’s a Christian who will fight to keep the Christian tradition in our schools, wherever he can. He will also work hard to ensure that more tax dollars go toward the classroom, i.e., teachers and students.
You aren’t strangers to the systematic, step by step removal of Christianity from our schools. No more Christmas. No more Easter. Those are obvious. What you don’t see is the secular curriculum and the sheer force of government at all levels to remove Christianity and replace it with the religion of Liberalism.
I apologize for getting off topic. I could have stated the facts as I see them in a single paragraph, but chose to present a larger picture.
Thank you for your service to the Christian community. Your response is appreciated.
In the Name of God, Family, and Civic Duty,