(TheRedWire.com) – The First Amendment is a sacred right in America. Among other things, it protects freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. However, since the tragic riot that occurred on January 6, the US Capitol building area remains fenced, and the public is prohibited from being near the people’s House.
According to a Presbyterian minister, he can’t exercise his First Amendment rights due to the Capitol building’s quarantine. On Tuesday, March 30, the Center for American Liberty filed a lawsuit on behalf of Rev. Patrick Mahoney. The suit alleges that the pastor is not allowed to hold a prayer vigil on Good Friday outdoors on the sidewalk near the Capitol in violation of his Constitutional rights. The suit names House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Vice President Kamala Harris, the US Capitol Police Board, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms as defendants.
"I am filing this federal lawsuit to ensure the 'People's House' is returned to the people and the First Amendment is once again celebrated…" Here is a Fox News story on our lawsuit @mercedesschlapp @mschlapp #FirstAmendment #GoodFriday #FreeSpeechhttps://t.co/TsymrfNliI
— Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) March 31, 2021
First Amendments Rights Violated
On February 2, Rev. Mahoney applied for the vigil’s permit. However, over six weeks later, on March 24, the Capitol police denied the application. Instead, they said he could gather for prayer at a location much further away than he wanted. According to the minister, he has held numerous past events in the same location where he wishes to host the prayer vigil. That includes last year when he coordinated with the Capitol Police to ensure his prayer gathering for the nation complied with COVID-19 rules established by the city.
Is the government being too overhanded this far removed from January 6? The reverend seems to think so. The purpose of his vigil is to gather Christians on Good Friday to seek God’s healing from the pain that occurred on January 6. He says he’s a peaceful man and that he “strongly denounces the criminal conduct by the rioters.”
The lawsuit contends that there is no longer a threat against the Capitol building. By keeping the fencing up and people away from the nation’s Capitol building, attorneys on Mahoney’s behalf argue the government “effectively created a no-speech zone.” They contend the government is violating the reverend’s freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.
Copyright 2021, TheRedWire.com