Feds trying to intimidate witnesses, according to former ministry
By Greg Szymanski, JD
June 15, 2009
The Feds are always
trying to pull a few rats out of a barrel, fishing for people to lie about their friends and even relatives for a few bucks
or a couple of tickets to the Caribbean.
Such is the case when the ‘bad side of the boys in blue’
are trying to frame somebody for something they didn’t do.
And so it appears to be the same old story in the flimsy case
being brought against The Alamo Ministry.
Last September, the Arkansas ministry was raided in “storm
trooper” like fashion with high powered rifles being pointed at innocent children and mothers nursing babies.
The crime: being associated with a Bible-believing church who
just happens to have a pastor not afraid in calling the Pope the Antichrist.
The result: more than 35 children were taken from their parents
by Arkansas authorities and still have not been returned.
Eight months have passed and the children remain in foster care
even though no solid evidence of child abuse has been found.
Further, the state has put at least three parents in jail for
trying to talk about the case to the media and, according to former members of the ministry, the Feds have been intimidating
and harassing people, even offering favors, in order to manufacture evidence against the ministry.
In response, the parents recently hired veteran civil rights attorney
Phillip Kuhn to represent their interests. Kuhn recently spoke on my radio show, The Investigative Journal, saying he has
never seen in 40 years of practice a more egregious constitutional violation of the Establishment Clause protections of freedom
of religion.(For the full hour interview see The Investigative Journal audio archives.)
In order to get immediate relief, Kuhn has taken the case into
federal court asking for an injunction to get the children released. The following is a transcript of the injunction and it
is well worth reading since if can happen to the people at the Alamo Ministry, it can easily happen to you:
Plaintiffs’ Reply Brief to Defendants’
Brief in Opposition for Preliminary Injunction
Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, is hereinafter referred to as “The Church”; the individual Plaintiffs Bert Krantz
and Greg Seago are hereinafter referred to as “Krantz” and “Seago” respectively; and the Defendants
are hereinafter referred to as “Defendants.”
Summary of Argument
Defendants misapply the doctrine of Younger to the church by asking
this court hold it to mean they must intervene into the state cases of another party. Further, the Younger doctrine doesn’t
apply to plaintiffs Krantz and Seago in that the relief they seek is prospective and such relief could not be achieved through
the favorable disposition of the pending state case. The church has articulated irreparable harm in the form of ultimate shutdown
if the injunction is not granted.
Plaintiffs Krantz and Seago come to this court with clean hands
in asking the court to enjoin the requirements imposed on them by Defendants (and enumerated in their brief) to sever ties
with the church, and in seeking an injunction barring future removals or investigations based solely on association.
The request for a preliminary injunction is carefully drafted
to preserve the status quo and protect both parties with the least restriction to each until the matter can be fully adjudicated.
In a broad brush stroke of general condemnation, the Defendants
have painted a very bleak picture of the Church. The Defendants spoke of prior cases involving the Church and Tony Alamo.
The Plaintiffs assume the purpose was to prejudice the Court. The Plaintiffs will not respond to these allegations until the
evidentiary hearing. The Plaintiffs will trust the reputation of the Court for fairness and its sense of relevancy.
The primary issue in this case is not what occurred to prompt
the action of the Defendants, but rather how those actions are carried out to the detriment of the church. The questions presented
to this Court by the Plaintiff’s are:
1. Is it permissible for the Defendants to require church parents
to leave the church housing and church employment as a condition of obtaining custody of their children?
2. Is it permissible
for the Defendants to search for and take custody of children of church parents simply because the parents have some sort
of association with the Church?
3. Is it permissible for the Defendants to threaten and to take into custody new born babies
of church parents at the moment of birth, when they are not in danger?
4. Is it permissible for the Defendants to vaccinate
children in foster care over the religious objections of the church parents?
5. Is it permissible for the Defendants to
institute policies that teach the children in foster care that their prior religious training was untruthful and that their
parents mislead them in order to mainstream the children to the Defendants’ views of the world?
Many of the allegations in the Defendants’ Answer and Brief
are evidentiary disputes that will be addressed at the hearing of this case. However, the Plaintiffs wish to address some
of the main issues raised by the Defendants in their Brief and Answer.
Younger Abstention Doctrine as Applied to the Church
In order for the Younger abstention doctrine to apply, plaintiffs
must be given opportunity to present their federal claims in state court. National City Lines, Inc. v. LLC Corp., 687 F.2d
1122 (C.A.8.MO, 1982). The church is not a party to the state case and therefore has no opportunity to raise its Constitutional
Younger does not require plaintiffs to intervene into the state
case of another party – rather it says that if the plaintiffs have a state case pending in which they can raise their
Constitutional claims, the federal court should abstain. Younger v. Harris, 401 U. S. 37, 91 S. Ct. 746, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669
(1971). Defendants are asking this court to expand the doctrine of Younger to require the plaintiffs to intervene into another
party’s state case. In the history of Younger and its progeny, no court has ever required a federal plaintiff to intervene
into another party’s state case.
Further, Defendants incorrectly assert that the church would have
standing to intervene into the pending state case. Defendants rely on Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure 24(a), which states:
(a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall
be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of this state confers an unconditional right to intervene; or (2)
when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and he is
so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to protect that interest,
unless the applicant’s interest is adequately represented by existing parties.
The subject or “transaction” of the state case is
the welfare of children, not the persecution and harassment of the church. The church does not have an interest in the welfare
of those specific children (although its members love and care deeply about what happens to all of its members, including
the children); its interest is in protecting itself from diminishment and ultimate disbandment as a result of the harassing
actions of the state. Caselaw interpreting this statute, as outlined below, makes it more than clear that the church would
have no standing to intervene into the state case.
Three requirements must be met for intervention as matter of right:
(1) recognized interest in subject matter of primary litigation, (2) interest that might be impaired by disposition of suit,
and (3) interest not adequately represented by existing parties.
Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 24(a). Matson, Inc. v. Lamb & Associates
Packaging, Inc., , 947 S.W.2d 324, 328 Ark. 705. 1997
The Church has no legal interest in the welfare of children.The
Church is alleging that repeated child abuse investigations and pre-hearing removals constitute harassment against the Church.
The disposition of the state case will not have an impact on future investigations or pre-hearing removals.
A sufficient interest on part of applicant seeking to intervene
as of right is not conclusive; if disposition would in no way affect applicant’s ability as a practical matter to protect
its interest, intervention is denied.
Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 24(a). UHS of Arkansas, Inc. v. City of
Sherwood, 1988, 296 Ark. 97, 752 S.W.2d 36.
The basis of the Church’s federal claim is that the defendants’
investigations, amongst other things, constitute a pattern of harassment. The child abuse investigations solely on the basis
of association with this Church create a state of terror and fear that is causing the church to lose membership. The disposition
of a state dependency case has no bearing on that, and as such, intervention would be denied.
To intervene as a matter of right an applicant must show that
he has a recognized interest in subject matter of the primary litigation, that his interest might be impaired by disposition
of the suit, and that his interest is not adequately represented by existing parties. (emphasis added)
Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 24(a)(2). Billabong Products, Inc. v. Orange
City Bank, 1983, 278 Ark. 206, 644 S.W.2d 594
Even if the harassment of the church was a legitimate interest
for the purposes of intervention, it is not a recognized interest in that there is no prior caselaw establishing this right.
Generally, if one seeking intervention will be left with his right
to pursue his own independent remedy against the parties, regardless of outcome of the pending case, then he has no interest
that needs protecting by intervention of right. (emphasis added)
Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 24(a)(2). Billabong Products, Inc. v. Orange
City Bank, , 278 Ark. 206, 644 S.W.2d 594. 1983
The Church has a remedy on their own to pursue the Constitutional
deprivations at the hands of the state through federal court. Since they have another remedy available, they would not be
permitted to intervene into the state case. There is no interest that can only be protected through intervention in the state
case (as required above). Further, the disposition of the state case doesn’t impair the Church’s ability to protect
its interests because they can still go to federal court.
The Defendants urge this Court to refrain from exercising federal,
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the principals expressed in the case of Younger v. Harris, 401 U. S. 37, 91 S. Ct.
746, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669  The Supreme Court held in Younger that federal courts as a rule should abstain from exercising
jurisdiction when asked to enjoin pending State proceedings. This doctrine of federal abstention reflects the public policy
that frowns upon federal intervention in State business based upon the principals of comity and federalism. See, Ronwin v.
Durham, 818 F. 2d 675, 677 [CA. 8, 1987] [citing Younger]
The Younger Abstention Doctrine is not, however, an absolute prohibition
against federal intervention in State proceedings. The courts have recognized that certain circumstances create an exception
to the Younger general rule. There are certain principals and guarantees inherent within a constitutional democracy that are
of a superior value over the general considerations of comity and federalism. The courts have recognized that in certain cases
the federal courts have a duty to vindicate and protect federally guaranteed rights and this duty must prevail over the policy
against federal intervention of State proceedings. This is especially true in the area of First Amendment guarantees of religious
expression, free association and privacy liberties. Federal courts will act despite the Younger doctrine when a State proceeding
threatens a party with “great and immediate irreparable injury.” Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U. S. 479, 485-87,
85 S. Ct. 1116, 1120-21, 14 L. Ed.2d 22 ; Collins v. County of Kendall, 807 F. 2d 95 [CA. 7, 1986]; Rowe v. Griffin,
676 F. 2d 524 [CA. 11, 1982]; Lewellen v. Raff, et al., 843 F. 2d 1103 [CA. 8, 1988]
The injury threatened is both great and immediate when “defense
of the State’s criminal prosecution will not assure adequate vindication of constitutional rights.” Dombrowski,
380 U. S. at 485, 85 S. Ct. at 1120. In Heimbach v. Village of Lyons, 597 F. 2d 344, 347 [CA. 2, 1979], the State criminal
prosecution was found to unduly chill First Amendment rights so that the Younger prohibition did not apply. A prosecution
brought to discourage First Amendment rights will justify federal intervention despite Younger even if the prosecution would
be successful. Fitzgerald v. Peek, 636 F. 2d 943, 945 [CA. 5, 1981]
In short, the Church has no legitimate forum to protect its First
Amendment claims other than federal court.
Standing is a strong requirement for anyone seeking the remedy
of intervention. See, American Civil Liberty Union of Arkansas, Inc. v. State, 5 S. W. 3d 418 . It is strange that the
Defendants in this case are contesting the standing of the Church to bring this action and at the same time are requiring
the Church to intervene in the State dependency action. The Defendant’s cannot have it both ways.
Younger Abstention Doctrine as Applied to Krantz and Seago
Although Krantz and Seago have a state case pending, they are
not able to raise their federal claims through the state case. Krantz and Seago assert that the defendants are acting in excess
of the state court orders by requiring them to leave their church and change their religious views, vaccinating their children
contrary to Arkansas law, and instituting a “deprogramming” plan aimed at driving a wedge between parent and child.
These harms are irreparable – and cannot be compensated by a monetary award.
Additionally, as will be explained in further detail later in
this brief, the defendants are requiring plaintiffs Krantz and Seago to forego their state appellate remedies and agree with
the department that membership in their church constitutes abuse before they may regain custody of their children. While asserting
that plaintiffs can raise their claims in state court, they openly state that if they do, they cannot regain custody of their
Further plaintiffs Krantz and Seago seek to enjoin the future
pre-hearing removal of their children. A favorable disposition of the state case would not prevent the state from carrying
out it’s routine practice of removing children without court orders2, nor would it prevent them from instituting yet
another investigation, or series of investigations, motivated by association with their church.
If defendants are not enjoined from future harassment of Krantz
and Seago because of their association with the church and their beliefs,; they are free to remove their children without
a court order in the future and to haul them to state court repeatedly with essentially the same allegations. By the defendants’
own admission in their brief, Krantz and Seago will not be considered to have “corrected the abusive environment”
unless they sever all ties with the church.3
the defendants’ unconstitutional policies and practices
Defendants, while asserting that they have no routine policy or
practice of violating Constitutional rights, confirm such policy in their Brief in Opposition as follows:
1. “Moreover, in these cases, as in every other child maltreatment
case, the parents are required to acknowledge that the adjudicated abuse and neglect occurred, and how it occurred, to ensure
they are equipped to protect their children from similar maltreatment in the future.”4
2. “In the vast majority of cases where children are brought
into the foster care system, the 72-hour hold is the initiating action by the Department.”5
3. “Parents committed to reunification with their children
are frequently required to take drastic steps to overhaul their lives, and they are frequently required to choose to give
up certain constitutionally protected interests – such as free association, family unity, property, or even liberty
– and to place the best interests of their children as paramount.”6
4. Defendants recognize that the individual plaintiffs are not
required to acquiesce to the state court’s findings of fact, and may appeal from the same. However, they are not permitted
to regain custody of their children while resisting court orders and refusing to participate in the case plan, as long as
those court orders upon which the case plan is based are valid.”7
The above statements whole-heartedly prove a routine policy and
practice of violating parents’ Constitutional rights with flagrant disregard. They openly hold custody of a child over
parents’ heads as a means of coercing them into foregoing certain rights and to deter the use of the state court appeals
process. They state, without any hesitation whatsoever, that if a parent chooses to appeal, they may not regain custody of
their child during the pendency of that appeal, knowing this process could take up to a year or longer. This position is in
direct contrast to federal and state law. Reunification is supposed to be based upon the current safety of the child to return
home; not upon an unconditional agreement with the department’s findings. Battishill v. Arkansas Dept. of Human Services,
(Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2004, Ark.App.,2004), B.H. v. Arkanasas Dept. of Human Services, (Not Reported in S.W.2d, 1998, Ark.App.,1998).
It is feasible and proper for children to be returned home under safe conditions even while parents continue to deny abuse
and make proper use of the state court appeals system.
As in the cases of Krantz and Seago, both have signed agreements
with Defendant’s stating that they will not allow their children to be married underage nor to be disciplined by other
church members in any fashion. At the same time, they properly deny that this has ever occurred, and have appealed the state
court findings. Although Krantz and Seago have availed themselves of every available state remedy; the Defendants mercilessly
hold the custody of their children over their heads because they have appealed and refuse to admit an untruth.
Defendants further admit that pre-hearing removals are done in
the “vast majority” of the cases. This policy and practice flies in the face of parents’ Constitutionally
protected familial interests in association with their children. It is well established that any removal of a child without
a court order should only be done in exigent circumstances. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 102 S.Ct. 1388 (1982). Exigent
circumstances are present only when delaying to seek a court order would cause irreparable harm. Hurlman v. Rice, 927 F.2d
74 (2nd Cir. 1991), Good v. Dauphin County Social Servies, 891 F.2d 1087 (3rd Cir. 1989), Wallis v. Spencer, 196 F.3d 805
(9th Cir. 1999). However, Defendant’s spell out their flagrant disregard for this requirement and openly state they
frequently remove children without court orders; and in fact, seem to convey surprise that anyone would object to this practice.
Perhaps most shocking about the Defendants’ routine policy
and practice is their statement that parents are “frequently required” by the Department “to give up constitutionally
protected rights” in order to prove that they are suitable parents! Rather than looking towards ways of ensuring safety
while respecting rights, they require parents to give up those rights as proof that they will be good parents. Specifically,
Defendants openly require these plaintiffs to give up their Constitutionally protected right to raise their children they
way they see fit and within the religion they have chosen for themselves and their children. They can only prove that they
are good parents by giving up that “family unity” and choosing a more appropriate church that meets the department’s
Further, they state that they “frequently require”
parents to give up these rights – thus proving the policy and practice of routinely violating civil rights.
Standing of Church and Irreparable Harm
Defendants interestingly assert that the Church would have standing
to intervene in the state case; then take a position of direct contrast by asserting that they do not have standing to pursue
an injunction. All that is required to show standing of the church is the showing of an injury to itself if the injunction
is not granted. Heartland Academy Community Church v. Waddle, 335 F.3d 684 (C.A.8.Mo 2003).
The church is diminished due to the harassment by the state. Defendants
admit over and over throughout their brief that they do require parents to sever ties with the church in order to regain custody
of their children. They openly require parents to agree with the state court findings and require them to separate themselves
from the church under the guise of “correcting the abusive environment.” That the defendants are requiring parents
to separate themselves from the church is undisputed. They go so far as to justify the withholding of Bible verses from their
children in foster care by saying they are damaging to the child. This is a clear indication of defendants’ expectation
that parents leave the church before regaining custody of their children. If parents remained in the church, the same Bible
would be used for sermons and teachings, and verses would be distributed orally or in writing to the children. The defendants
maintain that portions of the Bible are abusive – thus only by leaving the church could parents prove to Defendant’s
that their children will be safe in the future.
The defendants’ illegal position that portions of the Bible
are abusive puts parents in the position of choosing between their children and the church. Parents could choose their children
and leave the church even though this goes against their strong beliefs. Thus the church is diminished and suffers loss of
not only current members but future members. A parent would be hard pressed to join this church if it meant they would be
immediately subject to a child abuse investigation and possible loss of their children. Such a substantial loss of membership
will result in the ultimate shutdown of the church which is the state’s true goal.
Defendants take the position that harm to the church must be monetary
and since the works of the church are all voluntary, there is no loss. That would mean that no non-profit organization could
ever show irreparable harm by the illegal actions of the state because they don’t generate a profit; and the state would
have free reign to trample their Constitutional rights. To the contrary, monetary loss alone does not constitute irreparable
harm because irreparable means that the harm cannot be compensated with money damages. Corning Sav. and Loan Ass’n v.
Federal Home Loan Bank Bd., 562 F.Supp. 279 (E.D.Ark.W.Div. 1983), Potter v. City of Tontitown, 264 S.W.3d 473 (Ark. 2007).
The defendants argue that the church has no right to the donations
and charities of others; however the church has a right to associate and then seek members and contributions. The state’s
actions in removing children from all parents in the church prevents the church from keeping its current members and from
seeking new members, thereby effecting its opportunities to seek contributions.
The Church has standing of their own capacity to protect their
own interests as well as representative standing to represent the interest of their members. In the case of Heartland Academy
Community Church v. Waddle, 335 F. 3d 684 [CA. 8, 2003] the court found the Church had standing due to the immediate shutdown
of the facility with the allegation that the relief sought would prevent the harm identified.
Standing of Krantz and Seago – Clean Hands
Krantz and Seago have both appealed the state court findings.
“Doctrine of unclean hands applies only when plaintiff is guilty of improper conduct in matter as to which plaintiff
seeks relief.” In re Rushing, 161 B.R. 984, (E.D.Ark 1993). They shouldn’t be considered guilty of the conduct
until those appeals have been heard. The state’s presumption of their guilt and requiring them to admit the same is
the nature of this injunctive request.
Defense of unclean hands does not apply where plaintiff’s
misconduct is not directly related to the merits of the controversy between parties. Saxon v. Blann, 968 F.2d 676 (C.A.8 Ark.
1992). The issue before the federal court is the harassment of the church, not the adjudication of abuse or neglect. The injunction
in no way seeks to bar defendants from protecting children; it seeks to keep them from forcing parents to leave their church
in order to regain custody of their children. Thus, even if Krantz and Seago had abused their children, they still come to
this court with clean hands in asking this court to enjoin the state from forcing them to sever all ties with the church.
The infringement of the plaintiffs’ first amendment rights is a separate issue from the matter of abuse or neglect.
Krantz and Seago have previously alleged irreparable harm that
cannot be undone with monetary damages, through the vaccination of their children contrary to their wishes and Arkansas law,
the driving of a wedge between them and their children with a “deprogramming” plan, and the requirement that they
not only leave the Alamo church, but that they change many of their fundamentally held religious views, including admitting
that portions of the Bible are abusive.
Existence of State Court Orders
Defendants ask that Plaintiffs avail themselves of the state court
system to undo any wrongs, even to the point of asking the church to intervene into the cases of other parties. However, they
object to availing themselves of the state court system by petitioning the court to remove conditions in the case plan that
are illegal or violate civil rights. Vaccinating children against the parents’ religious beliefs is illegal under Arkansas
law (see Memorandum in Support of Preliminary Injunction). Using the defendants own arguments; if the court has ordered Defendant’s
to carry out illegal functions, then they should avail themselves of the state court process to remove those conditions so
as not to expose themselves to liability.
While the defendants argue that the state court found Krantz and
Seago guilty of medical neglect for not vaccinating their children, the court did not order Defendants to have them vaccinated.
Defendants have taken (and continue to take) this action on their own, without any court order to do so and in violation of
Arkansas law. If Defendants were unclear about the order, they could file a Motion to Clarify whether the Court intended for
to them to vaccinate children contrary to Arkansas law; a Motion to Reconsider if the court did mean this; and they could
seek an extraordinary writ through the Arkansas appellate court if that Motion was denied. Simply stated, Defendant’s
have plenty of state remedies available to avoid executing an illegal order (presuming the state court ordered them to have
children vaccinated, which it does not). This argument applies equally to the “deprogramming” plan and requirement
to sever ties with the church. Defendants surmise what they take the court order to mean, but failed to seek clarification
of those orders. The state court order does not require or allow Defendants to impose their own religion or absence of religion
on the children, nor does the order require the parents to sever ties with the church in order to prove they’ve corrected
the “abusive environment.” These conditions and acts have been taken by Defendants alone without any order to
The defendants have caused and continue to cause the deprivation
of civil rights to both parents and children. They point to a court order to justify their illegal actions, yet have taken
no action to correct that order.
The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status
quo. Arkansas-Best Freight System, Inc. v. U.S., 350 F.Supp. 539 (W.D.Ark. 1972). The injunction would accomplish this by
forbidding Defendants from removing or keeping children on the basis of association with the Church. Further, the injunction
is carefully crafted to protect the state’s interest in children by simply requiring that they first show the risk of
abuse to that specific child and support it with evidence; the standards already required by federal and state law.
The state is free to investigate child abuse and protect children;
they would simply be required to do this in a manner that complies with the Constitution, federal and state laws. The state
would not be free under the injunction to remove children solely on the basis of association with the church, nor would they
be free to compel parents to change their religious views and leave the church, nor to vaccinate their children illegally,
nor to drive a wedge between the children and their parents over religion.
The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to protect and preserve
the rights of all the litigants, with the least injury to each, until the controversies between them can be tried and finally
Denver & R.G.R. Co. v. U.S., 124 F. 156 (C.A.8. 1903)
The careful crafting of the injunction request protects both the
plaintiffs and defendants. Defendants are able to remove children if the criteria in the injunction are met (the legally required
criteria for removing children). They would be enjoined from carrying out their policy and practice of requiring parents to
leave this church (as articulated in their own words in the response brief). Both parties are protected.
Tony Alamo’s Statements of Opinion
The Defendants use statements made by Tony Alamo as proof of the
risk of harm to all children in the church. Americans can hold any set of beliefs no matter how controversial; what they can’t
do is break the law. For example, there is a whole class of people that support the legalization of marijuana and take measures
to try to change the law. As long as they aren’t distributing or using the drug, this belief cannot be held against
The First Amendment protects against the prosecution of thought
crime. U.S. v. Balsys, 524 U.S. 666, 118 S.Ct. 2218 (1998). Similarly, the holding of a thought or belief cannot be used as
the basis of removing children. Another act of furtherance of the belief is required. However Defendant’s makes no showing
of these additional acts, and simply state that because the viewpoint is there, a child may be abused at some future date
as a result of those views.
Tony Alamo may or may not hold a belief that girls should marry
after puberty. His beliefs are constitutionally protected and irrelevant. The defendants make some unproven allegations that
Alamo may practice his beliefs illegally. However, they fail to make any allegation neither that Krantz nor Seago have married
an underage girl nor that they plan to allow the marriage of their daughters before they are of age. To the contrary, Seago
has already forbidden the marriage of his daughter at age fourteen when she sought his permission to marry.8 And the Krantz
daughters don’t fall into the “target age” as alleged by the department.
The Defendants openly claim that because Tony Alamo espouses and
teaches certain beliefs, then all child members of the congregation are at some future risk of abuse based on these beliefs.
This is an error in legal logic.
Plaintiffs should not have to choose between their children or
their church. The individual Plaintiffs have chosen to practice Christianity on a full time basis as God has commanded them
to do. The defendant’s practices interfere with this choice.
The request for injunction is designed to preserve the Plaintiff’s
rights of free association in order to give voice to their religious views. The First Amendment right of religious expression
is a hollow promise without the corollary right of association. They have confused association with guilt. The Defendants
simply do not have the right to decide for the Plaintiffs what is appropriate in the practice of their religion. The question
is: Why is association with the Church deemed abusive to children since the individual plaintiffs have already promised they
would not let their children be disciplined by the Church nor would they consent to the underage marriage of their daughters.
In addition, many parents now being sought by the Defendants have never participated in church discipline procedures directed
against their children nor have they participated in any underage marriages of females. So, why are they being so relentlessly
pursued? The answer is simple. They are part of the Church. Why can’t they return to the Church? It is because their
children will be taken into immediate custody and they would have to endure the pervasive trauma of being accused of being
unfit parents because they have chosen to associate with the Church.
There can be only one reason for the Defendants’ insistence
that the Plaintiffs sever their ties with the church and that is to attack the credibility of the church even though the Defendants
admitted in their answer to the complaint that the church was not a cult. This is a different position than they have taken
prior to this action in the state court, wherein they defined the church with language like cult, sect, commune and compound.
The Plaintiffs are now faced with the untenable choice between
their children or their church. Such a draconian, schizophrenic alternative could never be accepted by the rational mind of
man. The frail spirit of man could never survive such an assault by the lawfully constituted authorities. So, now they come
to this Court as the only available forum to not only restore their God given individual liberties, but to meet the full measure
of their spiritual journey.
WHEREFORE Plaintiffs pray that their request for a Preliminary
Injunction be granted and that a hearing on the motion be held at a date and time deemed appropriate by the Court.
Phillip E. Kuhn, Esq.