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The Southeast Regional Rainbow Gathering has begun in Ocala National Forest. Every February beginning on Valentines Day, people come from all over to camp in the woods. Rainbow Family of Living Light is a “non organization” and has no leaders. It is a group of individuals who gather in National Forests, “the church” to pray for peace and live together in the spirit of community. No money is exchanged and everything is decided by consensus. Because their are no leaders, there’s no one who can sign the special use permit foisted on them by the Forest Service. No one individual can speak on behalf of Rainbow Family. No permit is necessary. Their right to gather is protected by the Constitution. The first amendment explicitly provides for “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.”

Leoher

“Guns in the Church”

Even though people are just “peacefully assembling,” there is always a police presence at Rainbow Gatherings. Armed LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) on patrol walk through. And while there might  be some nudity and drug use, there’s really no illegal activity. When they approach, people call out “6 Up!” to signal police presence so their brothers and sisters won’t be caught unaware toking a bowl or something. You’ll also hear “Guns in the Church.” Them bringing weapons into the Gathering is unnecessary and a point of contention with Rainbow Family. There’s been many abuses and violation of civil rights. 100’s of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money has been spent policing the Gatherings. Harassment begins at the Main Gate with mass ticketing and sketchy searches of vehicles without probable cause. But it doesn’t end there. They come right into Main Circle and individual camps. I was there in Texas in ’88 when “No Guns” was rundown in Main Circle by the son of the Sheriff in a 4×4. I had gotten a ticket at Main Gate for “obstructing the right of way,” even though my car was the only one of the road. Rainbow Family recognizes that LEO’s are their brothers and sisters. Rainbow Family includes everyone “with a belly button” as they say. So as individuals they are welcome, but this is America. Our rights are protected.

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