A Presbyterian Christian minister has sued Vice President Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after his request to hold a prayer vigil near the Capitol building was denied. The U.S. Capitol Police Board and the Senate Sergeant at Arms were also named in the lawsuit.
Christian Defense Coalition Director Rev. Patrick Mahoney accused the defendants of unnecessarily continuing to fence off the Capitol grounds in Washington, despite U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) having already removed the outer perimeter and reopened affected roads, thus preventing Americans from quietly sharing a spiritual message outside the U.S. Capitol building on April 2.
“[My client] has been trying to hold a prayer vigil for Good Friday on the sidewalk near the Lower Western Terrace of the Capitol but authorities denied his request,” Center for American Liberty CEO Harmeet K. Dhillon said in the filed complaint.
Dhillon, who is advising Rev. Mahoney on the matter, revealed “many similar events” were approved to proceed at the same location and around the same time during 2020 despite Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus restrictions.
“He worked with USCP to make sure the event complied with COVID-19 (CCP Virus) restrictions,” he said.
Since Pelosi, Harris, and the Capitol Police Board refused to allow this year’s Good Friday vigil to proceed, it could constitute a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
“Defendants informed plaintiff Mahoney that he does not have consent to use these noted sidewalks, nor can plaintiff use the grounds at the Lower Western Terrace,” Dhillon said. “These acts by defendants have effectively created a no-speech zone in one of the most important public forums in the nation.”
Dhillon described the Democratic Party’s reluctance to respect freedom of belief and free speech as puzzling.
“Denying a minister and faithful parishioners the ability to pray outside the U.S. Capitol is unfathomable and violates First Amendment guarantees for traditional public forums,” he said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
USCP confirmed that none of the outer fencing surrounding the Capitol was standing at the time of publication.
“All of the fencing that surrounded the outer perimeter of the U.S. Capitol Complex has been removed,” a police representative said on Twitter. “Affected roads have reopened. The USCP is ready to quickly ramp up security at a moment’s notice, if needed.”
However, authorities have no immediate plans to remove the rest of the barriers before the Easter long weekend.
“The inner perimeter fence, around the Capitol building, is still in place, while the department works with our congressional stakeholders and law enforcement partners to strengthen our security posture,” USCP said.