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Religious Freedom Fight in Bunkerville Standoff

Religious Freedom Fight in Bunkerville Standoff

Religious Freedom Fight in Bunkerville Standoff

by Shari Dovale

Ryan Bundy is fighting a new fight in the ongoing saga of the Bunkerville Trials in Las Vegas.

Bundy has been incarcerated since Jan 26, 2016 and has yet to go to trial. He has been fighting for his Constitutionally-guaranteed rights for nearly 2 years.

On Tuesday Ryan, and his brother Ammon, did not attend the scheduled court proceedings as they had not been transported from the Pahrump prison.

This is where it gets confusing for the average person.

The US Marshals are in charge of transporting prisoners. They insist they need to strip search each prisoner before and after every hearing and attorney visit. I am told the inmates can be strip searched upon leaving and arriving at each facility. This could entail a minimum of 4 strip searches per day.

The strip searches also include a manual ‘pat down’ including genitalia, and could include body cavity searches.

The US Marshals expect each prisoner to voluntarily submit, and take part, in these searches. This means that the prisoners are to voluntarily disrobe completely and expose themselves to multiple strangers.

The US Marshals have stated in court that they do this for ‘nearly’ all of the prisoners in their custody. The Marshal was not required to testify under oath when they said this. And there was a bit of ”hemming and hawing’ during this discussion. (These are my personal observations of the proceeding.)

Ammon and Ryan Bundy are members of the LDS Church (Mormons) and wear religious garments under their regular clothing. They object to having these garments removed. They have not fought with the Marshals, but they have not assisted them with the removal of their clothing.

When the two brothers refused to remove their religious garments, the Marshals refused to transport them to court.

Ryan Bundy has filed a motion to defend his right to physically attend his own court hearings, without violating his religious beliefs.

He makes very valid points in this motion, including the fact that the court, and US Marshals, are treating his rights as if they are privileges. They will only grant him his rights if he consents to their conditions. That argument changes them to privileges that can be taken away at their whim.

Religious freedom is a Right, not a Privilege.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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