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WorldNetDaily brings us news that a federal judge has ruled that the Secret Service illegally seized gospel tracts from The Great News Network.  The tracts are made to look like a million dollar bill, which does not exist.

Judge says seizing ‘Million Dollar Bill’ tracts illegal

Tactics against Ray Comfort message brought ‘disrepute’ to law enforcement


Posted: March 31, 2010
11:50 pm EasternBy Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

A federal judge has ruled the seizure of thousands of Gospel tracts from a Texas ministry by U.S. Secret Service agents not only was illegal, it violated Fourth Amendment protections against an overbearing and intrusive government.

The decision yesterday by Judge Jorge Solis of the Northern District of Texas came in the long-running dispute over a tract deliberately made to look like a $1 million bill.

The Million Dollar Bill tract was created by evangelist Ray Comfort, who also is author of “Nothing Created Everything: The Scientific Impossibility of Atheistic Evolution,” and “You Can Lead An Atheist to Evidence, but You Can’t Make Him Think.”

“The Million Dollar Bill, taken as a whole, poses no reasonable risk of deceiving an honest, sensible, and unsuspecting person,” the judge wrote. “First and foremost is the fact that the Million Dollar Bill purports to be worth a million dollars. There is no genuine currency in this amount.


“Million” Dollar Bill tracts

“More importantly, the amount the bill purports to be worth would lead any unsuspecting, honest, and reasonable person to become suspicious of the [bill’s] genuineness. Though many people would readily accept a one-hundred dollar bill without thinking there was a need to even give the bill a cursory examination, a reasonable and honest person would suspect that a bill purporting to be worth a million dollars is not genuine.”

Further, the judge ruled that the agents who confiscated 83 packets of the Gospel tracts from the Denton, Texas, offices of the Great News Network violated the U.S. Constitution.

Solis noted that the agents went to the office and confronted workers, demanding the tracts. The workers told the agents ministry leader Darrel Rundus was the only person who could give them permission to take the privately owned property. Rundus had said he would cooperate if the agents got a warrant or a court order, which they had chosen not to do.

According to the court’s opinion, the agents then threatened arrest if the workers did not cooperate.

“Agent [Mickey] Kennedy was not subtle in the manner by which he implied that he was taking the Million Dollar Bills with him no matter what – even if it meant arresting Mr. [Timothy] Crawford in the process. The facts and circumstances surrounding Agent Kennedy’s statements to Mr. Crawford on June 2, 2006, leave no doubt that Mr. Crawford believed he would be arrested if he did not retrieve the Million Dollar Bills from the closed closet in which they were hidden out of the agents’ sight,” the judge ruled.

“Agent Kennedy’s coercive tactics not only resulted in an unconstitutional search and seizure, it also resulted in bringing disrepute to the noble profession of law enforcement,” Solis wrote.

Further, the judge concluded that the agents involved in the seizure later “conspired together to cover up the actual events that took place at GNN’s office.

“Agents Kennedy and [Erin] Erdman persisted in covering up these events by being untruthful when they took the witness stand during the bench trial for this case,” the judge concluded.

WND contacted Secret Service offices in Dallas and in Washington, but no one would comment on the case.

Rundus told WND he was pleased with the outcome, and his attorney, Steve Crampton, said he was pleased with the ruling, given the stonewalling and coverup that appeared to have taken place throughout the government’s case.

“Hopefully, they will go back and rethink their big-picture strategy,” Rundus said.

The tracts at issue invite a recipient to answer the “million dollar question: Will you go to Heaven?”

The case was brought on behalf of the Great News Network, which was distributing the tracts. Crampton argued the case on behalf of the Florida-based non-profit legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel.

The tracts clearly state they are not legal tender and contain the Gospel message.

They are published by the Living Waters ministry of evangelist and author Ray Comfort, who says he has distributed millions over the years.

Rundus sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for violations of the Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech and the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unlawful search and seizure. The judge wrote that because he decided the tracts are not illegal, he didn’t have to reach a conclusion whether the statutory provisions the government alleged were being violated were constitutional.Rundus has reported the tracts are extremely effective. He uses them to share his faith with others. While the front of the tract has markings similar to paper currency, it states “This bill is not legal tender,” “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and “Department of Eternal Affairs.”

The judge noted those are among the indicators, along with the biblical quotations, that would tip off a “reasonable” person, along with the fact there is no such bill.

The dispute arose when a North Carolina bank brought the bill to the attention of local Secret Service agents. The agents contacted the Dallas office, which dispatched agents to the GNN ministry offices.

The confiscation drew local news coverage:

“There is no reasonable risk that an unsuspecting, reasonable, and prudent person would accept the Million Dollar Bill as genuine U.S. currency,” the judge wrote.

The judge noted that government attorneys repeatedly tried to convince the court that it could be mistaken for real currency when viewed from a distance. But the judge wondered who would figure a $1 million bill – viewed from a distance – was real.

“The problem with the government’s argument is that it is impossible to believe that any reasonable person would accept a bill purporting to be worth a million dollars under the circumstances counsel for the government tried to create. … Any person that would accept a bill purporting to be worth a million dollars without holding it or at least looking at it from closer than five-feet away is not a reasonable person,” he said.


The Barack Obama “million” dollar bill tracts

Besides the original million-dollar tract, Comfort also now offers tracts featuring caricatures of celebrities and the image of President Obama. Another has President Lincoln, with the amount of $1 trillion.

“An easy tract to give out with all the talk about ‘trillions’ of dollars in the news,” says the description.

The million dollar tract bears the message: “The million-dollar question: Will you go to Heaven? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.” Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That’s not God’s will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. Jesus took your punishment upon Himself – ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus, and God will grant you everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.”

A website called Prank Place says its currency for sale “looks and feels real. Great conversation tool. Our funny money and fake million dollar bills look just like real U.S. Currency. These are very high quality, designed by an incredibly talented artist. Our fake money make great gifts, additions to greeting cards, or even sales promotions and sales tools.”

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WorldNetDaily tells us that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has brought a lawsuit against the passage of the health care bill H.R. 3590.

Physicians group sues over health-care law

Says it violates Constitution in several ways


Posted: March 29, 2010
11:09 pm Eastern

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons became the first medical society to file suit to overturn the newly enacted health-care law.“If the [law] goes unchallenged, then it spells the end of freedom in medicine as we know it,” said Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of AAPS. “Courts should not allow this massive intrusion into the practice of medicine and the rights of patients. There will be a dire shortage of physicians if the [new law] becomes effective and is not overturned by the courts.”

The law requires most Americans to buy government-approved insurance starting in 2014, or face stiff penalties. The AAPS says insurance-company executives will be enriched by this requirement, but it violates the Fifth Amendment protection against the government forcing one person to pay cash to another.The group also charges violations of the Tenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the provisions authorizing taxation.

AAPS asks the U.S. District Court to enjoin the government from promulgating or enforcing insurance mandates and require Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue to provide the court with an accounting of Medicare and Social Security solvency.

The group bills itself as “a voice for patient and physician independence since 1943.”

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The Alliance Defense Fund has filed lawsuit against the Board of Education of Half Hollow Hills Central School District after they canceled a Christian club without any warning, citing funding and attendance issues.  They failed to provide evidence supporting their claim and have allowed 60 other clubs to remain active.  The school has a history of discrimination against the Christian club.

NY high school cancels Christian club, lets 60 others remain

ADF attorneys file suit against Board of Education of Half Hollow Hills after officials shut Christian student club down
Thursday, February 18, 2010, 12:00 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


CENTRAL ISLIP, NY — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Board of Education of Half Hollow Hills Central School District on behalf of a student who was told that school officials cancelled, without her knowledge, the Christian club she helps lead. School officials claimed that unspecified budget cuts and a lack of student popularity spurred their decision, even though the club had more than 55 student attendees last year and approximately 60 other student clubs, including the Gay-Straight Alliance and Amnesty International, were allowed to continue.

“Christian student groups in public schools shouldn’t be discriminated against simply because they are religious,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “Singling out a religious student club while letting the vast majority of the others remain constitutes viewpoint discrimination and is unconstitutional. In addition, it’s simply false that this club is not popular with students. More than 90 students signed a petition in favor of allowing the club to continue meeting.

“At the beginning of her freshman year at Half Hollow Hills High School East, the student was told that the Ichthus Club, a student-led group where she was one of the leaders, had been cancelled without any advanced notification. Four years earlier, her older brother met strong resistance before the club was finally allowed to form. Once he graduated, the school cancelled the club, even though the existence of clubs is not dependent upon a particular person’s leadership.

Instead, school officials claimed that a budget crunch was a key factor spurring the decision to cancel two or three clubs, including the Ichthus Club, yet officials provided no response when ADF attorneys asked to see evidence in support of their decision. Administration also asserted that the club’s lack of popularity was another reason for its cancellation, even though more than 55 students were on the club’s attendance roll last year.

The student leader worked diligently to negotiate with the administration to keep the club, even offering to cut expenses by meeting every other week and finding a club advisor who would volunteer, but officials and the school board declined the offer.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit J.P. v. Board of Education of Half Hollow Hills Central School District with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Robert W. Dapelo, one of more than 1,600 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the case.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org facebook.com/AllianceDefenseFund twitter.com/adfmedia

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

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The Alliance Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against the Atlantic Public Schools after a Christian club was denied equal treatment by Sutton Middle School.

The school has forced the club to pay rent, denied them access to privileges that other clubs have, and has prevented them from talking about the club on school grounds; other clubs get access to the facilities for free and are not denied privileges or communications about their clubs on school grounds.

School rules out religion: Atlanta Public Schools challenged after blocking club

ADF attorneys file lawsuit against school district for denying Christian student club equal treatment
Thursday, March 26, 2009, 10:35 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


ATLANTA — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a complaint Wednesday against the Atlanta Public Schools on behalf of a student and his mother.  The two claim their constitutional rights have been violated by school officials who have repeatedly denied their Christian club access to the same rights, benefits, and privileges given to all other student clubs at Sutton Middle School.

“Christian student groups shouldn’t be discriminated against for their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman.  “The First Amendment and federal law prohibit such actions on the basis of religion, and this has been established by decades of court precedent.”

Over the past six months, Atlanta Public School officials have repeatedly refused equal treatment to the Student to Student Club.  A number of other non-curriculum-related, student-led clubs–including Power Over Prejudice, Puppetry Club, and Knitting Club–are permitted to meet free of charge at Sutton Middle School and are entitled to a number of other benefits and privileges, including the ability to publicize club meetings and activities through a variety of communicative channels.

But school officials have singled out the STS club for discriminatory treatment, forcing the club to pay monthly rent for meeting space and excluding the club from accessing any of the privileges extended to other Sutton student clubs–including all means to communicate its activities.  School officials have even prohibited STS club members from talking about the club with interested students or parents while on school grounds.

“The STS club is entitled to the same benefits given to all other student clubs on campus,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Joshua Bolinger.  “When school officials deny equal treatment simply because the club is religious, that’s unconstitutional.”

ADF-allied attorneys S. Fenn Little and Jonathan Crumly of Little, Crumly & Chambliss, LLP, in Atlanta are assisting with the case.

  • Complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, in Shelton v. Atlanta Public Schools

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

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The Alliance Defense Fund reports that they have sent complaint letters to FEMA after FEMA refused to assist Southside Community Church in Arkansas in cleanin up storm debris.  FEMA had previously used the church’s facilities, without asking, as a partial operational base in assisting the community in cleanup after ice storms.

FEMA denies debris clean-up to Ark. church that aided FEMA, storm victims

ADF attorneys send letter to FEMA
Thursday, March 26, 2009, 9:05 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


PARAGOULD, Ark. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied storm debris clean-up to a Paragould church whose property the agency used for its debris clean-up efforts in the community and despite the efforts of church members to assist with the clean-up after recent ice storms.  Alliance Defense Fund attorneys sent a letter to FEMA officials on behalf of the church Wednesday.

“It’s unbelievable that FEMA, which benefitted from the church’s help, would slap it in the face in this way by refusing to pick up the church’s own storm debris.  Furthermore, FEMA’s decision may be unconstitutional and a violation of federal law,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley.  “Sadly, this church isn’t the only one that FEMA wouldn’t help.”

President Obama declared Greene County, Arkansas, a disaster area following major ice storms in January.  FEMA used Southside Community Church’s property as a partial base of operations for the clean-up effort.  The church, whose members also traveled to assist with clean-up efforts after Hurricane Katrina, was more than willing to allow use of its property for the ongoing disaster relief efforts even though FEMA did not ask the church’s permission to use its property.  FEMA workers used the property as a main turn-around point for its trucks, repaired trucks on the church’s property, and parked on the church’s property to supervise progress and complete paperwork.

In addition to church members assisting others in the community with debris cleanup, the church also cleaned up its own debris from the ice storm.  Following instructions in the local media that all properties should pile their debris by the street for FEMA to pick up, the church piled its debris near the street, but a FEMA supervisor advised the church that FEMA would not be collecting the church’s debris because “churches are considered a commercial business.”  FEMA denied assistance to other churches in the community as well.

“The denial of disaster relief to Southside Community Church constitutes discrimination in its worst form,” the ADF letter states.  “A church is not a ‘commercial business’ but is a vital community partner and participant in disaster relief….  Further, the rationale that a church is a ‘commercial enterprise’ seems to mask the fact that what is really occurring here is religious discrimination….  FEMA is mandated to provide disaster services without discriminating on the grounds of religion.”

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

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The Alliance Defense Fund announced today that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that a Montana political practices law was unconstitutional and upheld the 1st Amendment rights of the church.

9th Circuit: First Amendment trumps government regulation of church speech

ADF attorneys win appeal in case involving Montana church’s support of marriage
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 1:30 PM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020


SEATTLE — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed a ruling Wednesday which had upheld as constitutional a Montana commissioner’s determination that a church violated state law by not registering as an “incidental political committee.”  Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in June 2004 after the Montana commissioner of political practices began investigating the church upon receiving a complaint from a homosexual activist group because the church spoke in support of the state’s constitutional amendment protecting marriage.

“Churches shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs.  They should never be forced to forfeit their free speech rights just because the government decides to enact unconstitutional laws requiring them to remain silent on social issues,” said ADF Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt, who litigated the case with co-counsel Tim Fox of the Helena law firm of Gough, Shanahan, Johnson & Waterman.

“Churches have the right to speak about the moral issues of our time.  That is what churches do,” said Fox.  “This ruling affirms that churches are free to disagree and to participate in public debate.”

The court ruled on appeal that the political practices law is unconstitutionally vague and that its application in this case violated the church’s First Amendment rights.

In his concurring opinion, Judge John T. Noonan wrote, “An unregulated, unregistered press is important to our democracy.  So are unregulated, unregistered churches.  Churches have played an important–no, an essential–part in the democratic life of the United States….  Is it necessary to evoke these historic struggles and the great constitutional benefits won for the country by its churches in order to decide this case of petty bureaucratic harassment?  It is necessary.  The memory of the memorable battles grows cold.  The liberals who applaud their outcomes and live in their light forget the motivation that drove the champions of freedom.  They approve religious intervention in the political process selectively: it’s great when it’s on their side.  In a secular age, Freedom of Speech is more talismanic than Freedom of Religion.  But the latter is the first freedom in our Bill of Rights.  It is in terms of this first freedom that this case should be decided.”

In October 2006, ADF attorneys appealed the district court’s decision to the 9th Circuit, arguing that the Constitution should never be construed to allow cumbersome reporting requirements in order for churches to exercise their free speech rights.  ADF attorneys argued before the court on Aug. 4, 2008.

  • Opinion issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church of East Helena v. Unsworth

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

www.telladf.org

Note: Facts in ADF news releases are verified prior to publication but may change over time. Members of the media are encouraged to contact ADF for the latest information on this matter.

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