Christian Defense Coalition PRESS RELEASES
Contact: Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, 202-547-1735 or 540-548-4741 (cell)
January 11, 2005
The Secret Service refuses to remove crosses from the list of prohibited items at the Presidential Inaugural parade route. The Christian Defense Coalition is still moving forward with litigation if crosses remain on the prohibited list.
In a letter sent to the Christian Defense Coalition, the Secret Service said crosses could be worn around the neck or placed on a sign but they would not remove crosses from the list of prohibited items that could be used as a weapon. See letter at http://www.earnedmedia.org/ss_ltr.htm
In a letter sent back to the Secret Service on Jan. 11, the Christian Defense Coalition has said this is unacceptable and has asked the Service to "...eliminate the word 'crosses' from the illustrative list of prohibited items." See letter at http://www.earnedmedia.org/reply.htm
The Coalition has also said this matter could have been easily resolved if the Secret Service had banned all structures made of wood, metal or pipe and not singled out one religion's most sacred symbol.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states, "The Secret Service continues to show a profound lack of sensitivity toward the Christian faith by leaving crosses on the list of prohibited items from the Inaugural Parade. This amounts to religious and viewpoint discrimination. It is very troubling for federal law enforcement to suggest the somehow a cross presents a greater danger to national security than other religious symbol. This situation can be settled simply by the Secret Service prohibiting all structures made of wood or metal and not having to discriminate against the most sacred symbol of the Christian faith."
The group will seek injunction relief in federal court if they do not get a final answer from the National Park Service by the end of this week.
The Christian Defense Coalition filed successful lawsuits against Boston and New York City this summer for the right to peacefully demonstrate at the Democrat and Republican National Presidential Conventions.
In 1996, the Christian Defense Coalition secured the right to demonstrate and protest at Presidential Inaugurals by winning Mahoney vs. Babbit.
Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states, "It is now one month away from the Presidential Inauguration and will still do not know where we will able to gather to hold our prayer vigil along the parade route. Even though we applied for the permit almost one year ago. This makes it virtually impossible to organize our event. By refusing to carve out a space for American citizens to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights along the parade route, the government is chilling free speech and civil liberties. A Presidential Inauguration should be a time to celebrate the First Amendment...not crush it. If our permit is not approved by the end of this end, we will file suit in federal court early next week seeking injunctive relief."
For more information or interviews call or contact Rev. Patrick Mahoney at 202-547-1735 or 540-538-4741 (cell)