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'Continental Congress' unveils 'Articles of Freedom' in St. Charles
By Harry Hitzeman | Daily Herald Staff

John Bush of Texas speaks in front of the 2009 Continental Congress at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles on Saturday.

 

Kevin Sherman | Staff Photographer

Robert Schulz from New York speaks at the 2009 Continental Congress in St. Charles on Saturday.

 

Kevin Sherman | Staff Photographer

Members of the 2009 Contental Congress vote on various issues Saturday in St. Charles.

 

Kevin Sherman | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/22/2009 12:01 AM

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They're not necessarily liberals, conservatives or Libertarians.

Their uniting belief is that the government, namely federal but those of the states as well, has systemically violated the U.S. Constitution for decades.

And like the Founding Fathers more than 200 years ago, they believe the nation has reached a critical mass -- a situation so dire that it required an 11-day Continental Congress, spearheaded by the Queensbury, New York-based group, We The People Foundation.

The end result: a final version of "Articles of Freedom" drawn up and ratified by representatives from 47 of 50 states.

"Our purpose is to restore Constitutional governance. The federal government has gotten out of hand and strayed egregiously" from what the Founding Fathers intended, said Kenneth Lucier, a delegate from Minnesota and one 100 delegates at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles Saturday.

"Our purpose here is not to change the Constitution. We can't do that. We just want to hold our government accountable to the existing Constitution," Lucier said.

The group spelled out how it believes the government over the years has violated the Constitution when it came to: The Patriot Act; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; federal income taxes; gun control laws; illegal immigration; the Federal Reserve; and other topics.

They plan to present the document to all members of Congress and the executive branch. If the government takes no action, they are prepared to "withdraw our financial support from the federal government."

In other words, stop paying taxes.

Marc Messina, the We The People Congress Wisconsin state coordinator, said the Founding Fathers held a Continental Congress in 1774 without guaranteed response from the English monarchy.

"They (the government) have not responded, so this is the next step," he said. "We're holding a Continental Congress to hold our government responsible to take action. There was nothing certain in the first Continental Congress. The only thing certain is if we take no action."

Members of the delegation streamed video, shot out e-mails and made on-the-fly updates for youtube.com to help get their message out.

They held tightly to the First Amendment language that says citizen have, in addition to freedom of speech, the press and religion, "the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Edward Vallejo, a delegate from Arizona and U.S. Army veteran, said the courts have ruled that the people can petition the government all they want, but are not guaranteed a right to be heard or right to a response or answer.

"That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my life," he said.

The articles and video of the Congress can be viewed at givemeliberty.org, wethepeoplefoundation.org or CC2009.us.