New York Attorney General Letitia James is not only going after Donald Trump and his business interests, but she’s also bringing her Third World governance philosophy (see New York AG Letitia James Flies in on Her Broom to Demand Google De-List Pro-Life Centers, In Scathing Letter, Firearms Policy Coalition Promises to Take NY AG Letitia James Up on Her ‘We’ll See You in Court’ Offer, and Donald Trump Scores Win Against Letitia James’ New York Witch-Hunt) to political speech in general.
Reawaken America is a series of events organized by businessman and former Tulsa mayor Clay Clark that have been running since April 2021. The tours seem to have a couple of consistent themes: COVID restrictions are unconstitutional, and President Trump did not lose the 2020 election. Most of the events have been hosted by churches, but not in the context of a religious event. When the tour made arrangements to put on their show in Upstate NY, their first choice was the Mainstreet Armory in Rochester. Unfortunately, that deal fell through after a petition drive opposing the rally. The fallback plan became the Cornerstone Church in Batavia, NY.
That’s where things got interesting. New York Attorney General Letitia James sent a letter to Clay Clark and headliner Michael Flynn threatening them with criminal charges if the rally went ahead. Just to make sure that the point wasn’t missed, it was sent to them by way of the pastor of Cornerstone Church.
(Hat tip to Legal Insurrection for providing a copy of the letter.)
The letter is an over-the-top example of pseudo-legal bullying that would be shameful in any country with a legal tradition.
She objects to any mention of some subjects and the date chosen.
These concerns center around the event’s proposed dates, which coincide with the five-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and past extremist statements made by yourselves and the other featured speakers on the tour. I am especially concerned about featured speakers’ regular allusions to white nationalist ideals connected to the “Great Replacement Theory,” a conspiracy theory that warns of white genocide and efforts to replace native born immigrants. The theory is frequently linked to violent actions, including the racially motivated mass shooting that killed 10 people at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo.
She also makes a direct threat of legal action if the rally proceeds.
The Office of the Attorney General writes to remind you that New York law prohibits racially motivated violence, harassment, or interference with another person in the exercise of their civil rights. New York Civil Rights Law §79-n empowers the Office of the Attorney General to investigate acts of violence, intimidation, threats, or harassment directed at people based on a belief or perception regarding an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. In addition to actual damages, any person who violates this statute can be held liable for $5,000 in penalties for each violation.
This letter is bullsh** from start to finish. The Attorney General doesn’t have the legal authority to forbid speakers to say just about anything they want to say. They can literally yell “Fire” in a crowded rally if they want to. They can call people hurty-pants words. It is all legal because the First Amendment prohibits government from prohibiting speech.
The rally went off as scheduled.
No wokes were harmed, but some feelings were hurt.
I just played the clip of Pastor Mark Burns’ prayer for Attorney General Letitia James to the Rev. Nathan Empsall.
Empsall says it wasn’t a prayer, it was a “pseudo-call to violence.” pic.twitter.com/QxQOG937N6
— Tom Dinki (@tomdinki) August 12, 2022
In the service of truth in reporting, the “Reverend” Nathan Empsall is Episcopalian which calls into question his ability to qualify as an actual clergyman.
And Letitia James is probably fundraising off her anti-American, anti-democratic, anti-intelligent letter.
When Thomas Jefferson talked about the “separation of church and state,” what he feared was not the church interfering in affairs of state. So long as religious people vote and are elected to office, churches will play a significant role in government. What he was concerned about was the government interfering in church affairs, whether it be doctrine or governance.
A church, even one as based on race hatred as the Nation of Islam, has a right to teach whatever the hell it wishes and to host any type of speakers it desires without threats from a nitwit attorney general.
Taken by itself, this is just another example of how Democrats act when in power in a one-party state. They immediately run to the nearest Hugo Boss outlet and buy up every snazzy-looking outfit they can find, so long as the color is brown or black. These, however, are unusual times. My colleague, Alex Parker, recently reported on an investigation that the Department of Justice has launched into the Southern Baptist Convention, DOJ Investigates the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Reason Is Extremely Disturbing. In the context of how the convention is organized, that is, it is a voluntary organization composed of independent churches, and it is hard to see any legitimate federal interest. I mean, beyond the obvious. Just like Letitia James attempted to stomp out free speech and freedom of association for people she despises, the feds are firing a warning shot over the bow of the SBC as an election year ramps up.