What Happens When You Don’t Sit Down & Shut Up

Charming news from the Antelope Valley today. The Valley Press has an article in today’s paper entitled Vandals Target Citizen Who Spoke Up.

A Lancaster woman’s home was vandalized overnight Wednesday with “In God We Trust or ?” painted across her windows in what she believes is retaliation for speaking out against placing a similar phrase in City Council chambers.

So, is this what happens to those who don’t “sit down and shut up”? Wow, sharing God’s Love is a wonderful thing.

Phillips believes the vandals found her home after Mayor R. Rex Parris told her she had to announce her home address during the meeting, which is televised.

“I believe the two are linked,” Phillips said.

She questioned the legality of forcing a speaker to provide an address to talk to the council. When she filled out a speaker card in order to address the council, she said she omitted her home address, but Parris asked her for her address when she stepped up to the podium.

This mayor will do and say anything to advance his political career. If sucking up to the Christocrats running Lancaster will advance his career, then he will do it.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Phillips told the council that displaying the motto, “at the very least, implies that nonbelievers are unwelcome or unsuitable to appear before the council.”

“I don’t believe that motto should be brought into a public venue,” she said.

Phillips said she is a “reluctant activist,” but felt strongly about the council’s proposal.

“I believe in God, but I don’t even want my religion shoved down other people’s throat,” she said.

Phillips said she sent Parris, via e-mail, a list of secular slogans to put in place of “In God We Trust,” but had received no response from the mayor.

Parris said he hoped the vandalism wasn’t related to her speaking out.

Why aren’t other non fundy Christians stepping out to support her? Why do they let the right-wing Christians run the Antelope Valley? Why do they stick their heads in the sand? Even if there are very few atheists, at least we support her, as she is supporting us.

He described the vandalism as an atypical incident since the vandal painted Phillips’ windows with shoe polish.

Sheriff’s officials are investigating the vandalism, Parris said.

I hope she didn’t do this herself to get attention.

First Amendment expert Jim Ewert, legal counsel and legislative advocate for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, said no case law exists to indicate that a speaker must provide his or her home address to talk to a city council.

“I fail to see the nexus between providing an address and being able to speak at a council meeting,” he said.

Under the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s opening meeting law, Ewert said, the council can’t pose unreasonable restrictions on individuals who want to speak to it.

Providing one’s name is not an unreasonable restriction, but being forced to state one’s home address out loud might be, Ewert said.

“It all boils down to whether forcing the speaker to give out her address constitutes reasonable restrictions,” he said.

Phillips said the vandalism demonstrates “there are repercussions in speaking out against them (the city council).”

“It’s an invasion of freedom of speech and privacy,” she said.

I wonder why the mayor insisted she give her address. Hmmmmm, it makes one think.


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