Homeland Security Raid of Religious Tracts Violates Fourth Amendment

www.LC.org

Dallas, TX – Yesterday, a federal district court ruled that agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Darrel Rundus when they confiscated his “Million Dollar Bill” gospel tracts. Liberty Counsel represents Rundus and his Christian ministry, Great News Network (GNC).

On June 2, 2006, DHS agents entered GNN’s office without a warrant or permission. They threatened an employee with arrest to pressure him into giving up the “Million Dollar Bill” religious tracts, which the agents referred to as “contraband.” After waiting more than three years, Rundus and GNN filed suit.

The front of the bill has markings similar to paper currency, but no one would ever get the tracts confused with real money. The front says, among other things: “This bill is not legal tender,” “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” “Department of Eternal Affairs,” and “1,000,000.” The reverse side has multiple statements such as, “The million dollar question: Will you go to Heaven?” The tract then contains the story of salvation written around all four sides. Rundus says that the tracts are extremely effective in sharing his faith with others. GNN has distributed over one million of the “Million Dollar Bill” gospel tracts, which are produced by Ray Comfort and Living Waters as an evangelism tool. An estimated 8-10 million tracts sold by Living Waters have been handed out over the last ten years.

Federal District Judge Jorge Solis ruled that DHS violated the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unlawful search and seizure. The ruling contains harsh language against the DHS agents, stating their behavior was inappropriate and they violated the rights of Rundus. Judge Solis ruled the “Million Dollar” bills would not be confused with legal tender.

Steve Crampton, General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, commented: “The Department of Homeland Security should be tracking dangerous criminals instead of harassing innocent people of faith for handing out religious tracts. No clerk or bank teller will mistake the ‘Million Dollar’ bill for legal tender. The Constitution stands as a bulwark against federal power and abusive law enforcement.”

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14100&PRID=922

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