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ICRF v. Maryland PDF Print E-mail

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND

 

INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM; NICHOLAS MILLER, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM; ALEX COLVIN; HANALYN COLVIN, DAN FEFFERMAN; SUSAN FEFFERMAN; MICHAEL ROSCHUNI; and LLOYD EBY

Plaintiffs,

vs.

THE STATE OF MARYLAND; BOARD OF REGENTS, UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF MARYLAND; PARRIS GLENDENING; WILLIAM WOOD; and DOES 1-10.

Defendants.

_____________________________________

Case No. ____________

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF; AND ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

INTRODUCTION

  1. For more than three centuries, the State of Maryland has been a staunch supporter and defender of religious liberties. Since the 17th century, institutes of higher learning have been chartered and established within the State for the free flow of ideas, differing views and differing philosophies. However, an act of the Maryland State Legislature and the concurrence of defendants and the University System of Maryland, have undertaken to negate this history. Through a legislative act, the "Task Force to Study the Effects of Cult Activities on Public Senior Higher Education Institutions," Maryland has commenced a religious inquisition, targeting and vilifying minority religions with the inflammatory denomination of "cult," derogating targeted religions with government imprimatur and utilizing funds acquired through public taxation.

  2. Based upon lobbying by anti-religious organizations such as the former "Cult Awareness Network" and the "American Family Foundation," and individuals with undisguised religious prejudices and contempt for the ability of persons to make personal choices in their own best judgment, the legislature has acted to censor and suppress the promotion and propagation of certain religions. Such inquisition, as ordered by the legislature, is to consult with organizations and individuals of known religious prejudice to investigate "recruitment and organizational practices of cults."

  3. The Maryland Resolution, House Joint Resolution HJR 22, provides disingenuous justifications for its unconstitutional conduct: that university students are too "vulnerable," too "anxious about their futures" and too "overwhelmed with new responsibilities" to investigate and choose their own paths of religious belief, conscience and practice. The legislature has thus determined that some religious beliefs and philosophies must be censored from college students lest they become "involved" with vilified religions and "become alienated from their families and friends" absent the intervention of the state to inform students which religions are "cults" and which religions are - in the view of a selected panel - entitled to religious recognition and respect. Professing to know what is best for university students to believe, the legislature has, in effect, determined that it is both unnecessary and harmful for students to think for themselves.

  4. Maryland was established in the 17th century because Catholics were being persecuted in England by the government in power. Since the year 1649 when Maryland's famous Act of Tolerance was passed into law, resulting in the immigration of those seeking religious freedom from less enlightened colonies, Maryland has had a deserved reputation for the promotion of religious liberties. The anti-cult Task Force Resolution threatens to reverse that status, and constitutes an illegal and unconstitutional act of government.

  5. The legislative enactment and the resultant activities of the government funded "Task Force," including a public report on its study of "cult activities," "manifest a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Maryland Constitution, and federal statutes, constituting a prohibited religious preference for some religious organizations and some religious practices, while condemning and denigrating other religious practices and beliefs not so preferred and creating a substantial chilling effect upon the free exercise of religion in the Maryland University System.

    JURISDICTION AND VENUE

  6. Jurisdiction of this action arises out of 28 U.S.C §1331, in that this action challenges the constitutionality of a state legislative act and its subsequent enforcement; and 28 U.S.C. §1343, and 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988, to redress the deprivation under color of state law, of rights and privileges secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and under the Maryland Constitution. The acts set forth herein arise in and have taken place in the District of Maryland.

    PARTIES

  7. Plaintiff International Coalition for Religious Freedom is a non-profit educational organization located in Falls Church, Virginia, dedicated to defending the religious freedom of all people, regardless of race, gender, creed or nationality. Several of plaintiff's officers and members are residents of the State of Maryland, participated in the State University system, and are directly affected by the governmental conduct at issue in this case.

  8. Plaintiff Nicholas Miller, Executive Director of the Council on Religious Freedom, is an individual and taxpayer residing in Montgomery County, Maryland, who wishes freely to propagate his religious faith and who objects to his tax dollars being spent to single out for discriminatory discussions and treatment, minority religious groups.

  9. Plaintiff John Alexander Colvin is an individual residing in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and is an enrolled student in the University of Baltimore, Maryland University System. Mr. Colvin is also an employee of the System who believes that his employment is being jeopardized by the activities of the Task Force and the chilling effect created by the University System's investigation into the religious affiliations of its employees.

  10. Plaintiff Hanalyn Colvin is an individual residing in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and is a high school student who is considering enrolling in the Maryland University System. As a result of the Task Force proceedings, Ms. Colvin has been intimidated from pursuing these potential college plans and may be forced to travel out of state to continue her education because of the chill to her free exercise of religion, the detrimental effect the activities of the Task Force portend for her future employment opportunities and the prejudicial atmosphere being established in Maryland arising out of the activities complained of herein.

  11. Plaintiffs, Dan Fefferman and Susan Fefferman, are individuals residing in Prince George's County, Maryland, concerned that their 17 year old daughter, who is planning to attend a Maryland University System institution of higher learning upon graduation from high school, will, because of the atmosphere of "cult activities" generated by the defendants, be subject to harassment and scrutiny arising out of her parent's religious beliefs.

  12. Plaintiff Michael Roschuni is a resident of Prince Georges County Maryland, and is a current undergraduate student at the University of Maryland at College Park. Mr. Roschuni is member of a religious organization targeted by the unlawful acts of the defendants as set forth below, whose right to practice and promulgate his religious beliefs has been chilled by defendants' conduct.

  13. Plaintiff Lloyd Eby is an individual residing in Prince George's County, Maryland, who has three children, ages 15, 10, and 7, attending public schools in that county. Dr. Eby holds a Ph. D. in philosophy, with interest and professional training in ethics, logic, theory of knowledge, and theory of religion, and is a member of the humanities faculty of the University of Maryland University College. He is also a member of a religious group that is frequently denigrated by being called a "cult" by defendants and those acting in concert with them. Because the Task Force is unlawfully and illogically attempting to single out and attack, investigate, or otherwise harass some religious belief and activity by calling it "cult activity," his ability to continue with his profession and to promulgate and practice his religious beliefs is chilled and threatened by the existence and activities of the Task Force and the acts of the defendants set forth below.

  14. Defendant State of Maryland is one of the United States of America.

  15. Defendant Board of Regents, University System of Maryland is the executive and operational body in control of and in charge of the University System of Maryland, and is responsible, in part for the actions and violations of law set forth below.

  16. Defendant Parris GLENDENNING is the Governor of the State of Maryland, and is responsible for the implementation of the unlawful statute and acts set forth below.

  17. Defendant William Wood is a member Board of Regents, University System of Maryland, and is the Chairman of the Task Force, responsible for the implementation of the illegal acts complained of below.

  18. Defendants Does 1-10 are persons and entities which on information and belief, are acting in concert with and in conspiracy with the named defendants to carry out the unconstitutional and illegal acts set forth below. Such persons or entities will be identified and named as defendants during the course of this litigation.

    STATEMENT OF FACTS

    A. Text of the Resolution

  19. Maryland House Joint Resolution 22, entitled, "Task Force to Study the Effects of Cult Activities on Public Senior Higher Education Institutions," passed into law on May 21, 1998, states that its purpose is to establish such Task Force and to report thereafter to the Governor and the General Assembly.

  20. The resolution opens with the statement that "WHEREAS, A 'recent' mass suicide in California, cult motivated murders in Mississippi and Florida and a subway gassing incident in Japan have increased national awareness of the destructive nature of cult activities." None of these alleged incidents is explained and none alleged to have any connection with any interest of the State of Maryland. The resolution thereafter states several opinions and generalities without attributing any source to the opinions:

    "WHEREAS, It has been estimated that there are as many as 2,000 cults operating in the Unites States with 4 million to 6 million members."

    "WHEREAS, Cult recruitment activities are often directed towards students on college campuses."

    "WHEREAS, College students are particularly vulnerable to cult recruitment because they are often grappling with becoming independent, overwhelmed with new responsibilities and relationships, adjusting to new environments, and anxious about their futures."

  21. Having promulgated such derogatory opinions about "cults" and the inability of college students to understand and appreciate the threat "cults" manifest, the Resolution postulates dire results when students become involved in "cults": "WHEREAS, College students who become involved with cults undergo personality changes, suffer academically and financially, are alienated from their families and friends and are robbed of the very things universities were designed to encourage: freedom of thought, intellectual growth and personal development."

  22. Finally, the Resolution notes that "Although the United States Constitution and Maryland Constitution clearly and properly limit the ability of any government entity to interfere with the free exercise of religion," the State has a "right and responsibility to examine the behavior" of groups "who violate State or local law or campus policies regarding deception, harassment or fraud, or who threaten the mental, emotional or physical well-being of the citizens of Maryland or students enrolled in the University System." Thus, despite recognition that it is constrained by the First Amendment to impinge upon religious belief and practice, the legislature justifies the Resolution through subjective determinations regarding its opinion of the effect of "cults" on the minds of students.

  23. The Resolution requires that the Task Force be composed of two members of the Maryland House of Delegates, two members of the Maryland Senate, three state university and college presidents or their designees, the chancellor of the University System of Maryland or designee, a member of the Board of Regents of the University System, a member of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, "two parents of current or former cult members," two parents from school parents associations, and two student government representatives.

  24. The Resolution then instructs the Task Force to investigate and acquire information regarding the "the recruitment and organizational practices of cults... the response of college administrators in Maryland and around the nation to cult activities, and the effect of cult involvement on students." The "cults" are not identified as sources of information on their own alleged activities and organization. Rather, the Task Force is instructed to communicate with "cult awareness organizations, former cult members, college administrators ... families of cult members and other interested parties" for such information. Indeed, "cults" are not identified or defined in the Resolution at all, leaving the scope of the inquisition solely in the hands of the Task Force.

    B. Legislative History of the Resolution

  25. On February 19, 1998, House Joint Resolution 22 was introduced to the Maryland House of Delegates by several legislators, urged by members of the aforesaid "cult awareness organizations."

  26. A sponsor of the Resolution, Delegate C. Anthony Muse, supplied his own written testimony in support of the Resolution, which stated that the "cults" he was seeking to restrain were religious organizations. Asserting his preference for some religious practices over others he denominates as "cults," Delegate Muse stated, in part:

    Cults can be defined from and by many different disciplines. Here, I am not defining cults from a theological perspective as I always believe in freedom of religious expression. But I am aware that even religious practices can be designed to be manipulative, harmful and have as its goal to prey on naive persons rather than praying for the good of one.

    The committee meetings in which the passage of the Task Force legislation was proposed were neither fair or broadly known to the public. No witnesses were invited to speak who opposed the Resolution, despite the fact that many such witnesses have come forth once the Resolution was publicized. In particular, no representatives of the groups proposed to be studied (namely the purported "cults") were afforded the opportunity to refute public allegations against their religious beliefs and practices during the hearings or to give reasons for their opposition to the resolution. Moreover, in the second and third readings of the bill before the Maryland Senate, the clerk incorrectly read the bills as establishing a Task Force on "Cultural" Activities, not "Cult" Activities. Thus, many Senators, during the rush of considering approximately 200 bills at the close of the legislative session, may not have realized the true nature of the bill they passed.

  27. Prior to Delegate Muse's proposal of the Resolution, he received a lengthy memorandum and letter from Washington, D.C. attorney David Bardin, on behalf of his clients, Les and Nora Baker who complain that their daughter was converted to a religious organization while attending the University of Maryland. Mr. Bardin was a registered lobbyist for two professed "anti-cult" organizations: the Cult Awareness Network and the American Family Foundation.

  28. The Cult Awareness Network ("CAN," originally called the Citizen's Freedom Foundation), was the primary American anti-religious group of the second half of this century. The Citizen's Freedom Foundation changed its name to the Cult Awareness Network in 1986 to capitalize on the powerful images it created itself by redefining the term "cult" in American lexicon as something dangerous and sinister and, invariably, a "false" religion. The term "cult" is, at best, only vaguely defined even by CAN and other hate groups, because, in essence, the term simply means a minority religious organization with practices and beliefs disapproved by the speaker. As stated by author Tom Wolfe, "A cult is a religious organization without political influence" - a definition particularly appropriate here.

  29. However, another organization denominating itself the "sister organization" of CAN, the American Family Foundation ("AFF") survived and continued its anti-religious programs. Written materials from AFF were also provided to the legislature by Mr. Bardin or others as part of the lobbying for passage of the Resolution, and form a portion of the legislative record. Like literally all of the statements supporting the Resolution, the materials provide muted complaints regarding religious belief and practice. Mr. Bardin's client, Nora Baker, also submitted a written statement dated March 5, 1998, which argues that although she complained to the University that her daughter was converted to an alleged "cult," a member of the University President's staff referred to the experience as having provided potential "spiritual nourishment and a meaningful life philosophy" for the student's consideration. Mrs. Baker disagreed with that particular religion's philosophy, thus raising sufficient complaint with her state delegate and purchasing sufficient representation to assert that the religion at issue was unacceptable.

  30. Roger and Sandra Stephon, the parents of a member of the International Churches of Christ, and who stridently disagreed with their adult child's involvement in the religion, have particularly taken credit for passage of the Resolution. A letter and written "Statement to the Appropriations Committee" from the Stephons dated March 5, 1998, is included in the legislative record. The Statement makes generalities regarding the existence of manipulative "cults" on campus without specifically stating what these "cults" are or identifying the alleged cult which they claim caused their son to drop out of school. However, the Statement makes clear that the entity about which they complain is the International Churches of Christ, a religious organization which their son joined.

  31. Another undated statement in the legislative history, is from one Laura Ann Weber, who, in inflammatory terms asserts that her life changed for the worse after she attended a Bible study group which lead to her deep involvement in a religious organization she referred to as a "cult."

  32. Additional written testimony is from a University of Maryland Chaplain, Holly Ullman, who acknowledges that she is an ordained Presbyterian minister actively "involved in cult awareness education." Rev. Ulmer relates the "harassment" of having been approached by a person inviting her to attend Bible studies or worship services and claims that this sort of incident occurs from time to time on campus, noting, "[u]nfortunately, the presence of destructive groups on campus is contributing to the overall 'religious climate' at Maryland." Rev. Ullman thus urges passage of the Resolution so that these [obviously not Presbyterian] groups are not allowed to lead students to a "path of personal and spiritual destruction."

  33. A Lutheran Chaplain, Elizabeth Platz, testified prior to passage of the Resolution that one of the problems in dealing with "intrusive groups" is the lack of definition of a "cult." Rev. Platz does not therefore define "cults," but again, such a group is presumably not the Lutheran Church. Rev. Platz recommends a publication which she identifies as a "University of Maryland publication, Friends Are Everywhere: A Guide to Making Judgments About Groups," which cautions students about getting involved with groups that teach insidious "ideas" designed to "tempt you ...[to] ... reject previously held values." The pamphlet is provided by AFF to campuses throughout the nation and produced by some of these campuses at public expense (including the University of Maryland at College Park).

  34. Another Lutheran minister, Richard Dowhower, also submitted an article he wrote and published in The Lutheran magazine, derogatory of the International Churches of Christ. The article recommends that "when someone you love joins a suspicious group," that a person should call the Cult Awareness Network (of which he was a leader), to "verify that the group and its leader are known to be dangerous;" and one should "learn the enemy" by purchasing a book from the Cult Awareness Network written by a deprogrammer, and "enlist an exit counselor ... so a plan can be prepared to help extricate and rehabilitate your loved one" and asserting that "reputable exit counselors no longer do kidnappings and deprogramming." Rev. Dowhower further provided a written statement in the legislative record asserting that he is the Chair of the AFF's Clergy Committee and was on the Advisory Board of "the late, great Cult Awareness Network." Rev. Dowhower's testimony included many derogatory comments concerning "cults" and claims that purported former members thereof are allegedly "confused about ... their own spirituality and personal theology" - a matter which he purports to resolve through his own counseling as a Lutheran minister. Dowhower supplies definitional characteristics to the Legislature regarding "cults," one of which is "the need to be on the Messianic cutting edge of God's saving work on earth" as well as other vague generalities of a religious and/or social nature.

  35. Following receipt of the testimony set forth above and other anti-religious lobbying, the Joint Resolution was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates on April 9, 1999 and by the Senate on April 12, 1999. The Governor signed the Joint Resolution on May 21, 1998.

    Task Force Meetings

  36. After the Resolution became law, Members of the Task Force were appointed as required by the Resolution. One of the two State Senators appointed to the Task Force was Ida Ruben, who had supported and promulgated CAN's message of religious intolerance for at least the past 15 years. Senator Ruben previously sponsored four bills on behalf of CAN and other anti-religious groups to diminish the religious rights and freedoms of minority religions: HJR 107 in 1980, HJR 67 in 1981, SJR 22 for the establishment of a "Cult Awareness Week" in 1988, and Bill No. 1725 in 1982 entitled, An Act Concerning the Special Guardianship of the Person," relating essentially to a legalized form of kidnapping. Although each of these efforts was unsuccessful, Mrs. Ruben received an honorary award from CAN as its "top legislator" for these acts of religious prejudice.

  37. Also appointed as a member of the Task Force as a "parent of a former or current cult member " representative, was Ms. Patricia Rausch, a parent of an individual who had attended several meetings of the International Churches of Christ, who was highly disturbed over her adult daughter's choice of religion. Other members of the Task Force were overtly critical of purported "cults." Frantz Wilson, an "anti-cult" activist, was also appointed to the Task Force as a "parent" representative, although his daughter joined the Black Hebrews, a religious group 19 years ago having no relation in or to the State of Maryland or its universities. During one of the Task Force meetings, Mr. Wilson saw fit to make a threat of physical violence against a member of a religious minority attending the public meeting. Mr. Wilson and Ms. Rausch - the two most outspoken "anti-cult" activists on the Task Force - were appointed the "sub-committee" to select the speakers at Task Force meetings. They selected all "anti-cult" advocates. Mrs. Rausch was also appointed the chairperson of a sub-committee to work on language describing the alleged "destructive behaviors" of "groups." She is on record stating that "a cult is not a religion." The appointment of these two persons as "parents of current or former cult members," demonstrates that the Task Force formally viewed Black Hebrews and members of the International Churches of Christ, two minority religious organizations, as "cults." Such act prefers certain religions over other religions in violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution and the Maryland Constitution.

  38. The Task Force therefore followed its legislative mandate of seeking information from "anti-cult" representatives and other persons with an "anti-cult" agenda, rather than from balanced sources. At the first meeting of the Task Force on May 25, 1999, one of the persons invited to speak was Ronald Loomis, the former Executive Director of the national office of the Cult Awareness Network. Mr. Loomis' speech was entitled, "Overview on Cults" as a purported expert on the subject. Other persons invited to testify at the Task Force's first meeting were the head of the local former Cult Awareness Network office in Baltimore, Doris Quelet, and Lutheran minister Rev. Platz mentioned above. Several "former members" offering derogatory opinions on their former churches were also invited to testify. No active members or representatives of any of the targeted "cults" were asked to testify, and no representatives of civil rights groups or advocates were invited to testify. The International Churches of Christ and the Unification Church were specifically targeted in the first and subsequent meetings of the Task Force.

  39. Substantial time was expended in the first meeting to define the type of group the task Force was instructed to investigate, i.e., endeavoring to define the term "cult." The Task Force was unable to define the term and its Chairman expressed concern that the Task Force not become involved in religious issues in light of the obvious anti-religious direction the Task Force must necessarily take to consummate its responsibilities under the Resolution. The definition of "cult" was therefore not the subject of agreement at the first meeting.

  40. At the June 7, 1999 meeting of the Task Force, the International Churches of Christ continued to be targeted as the primary "cult" of concern. Ronald Loomis, presently representing himself as the "Education Director" of the AFF, distributed a flyer which claimed that the International Churches of Christ was banned from a number of campuses, and thus apparently that it should be banned in Maryland. Several other minority religions were also mentioned in the context of being "cults."

  41. Further meetings of the Task Force have gone forward. The conduct of the Task Force meetings has been extremely unfair and unbalanced, further demonstrating the intention to derogate "cults." "Anti-cult" viewpoints are fostered and promoted while those with opposing views are actively discouraged or denied reasonable opportunity to speak. Each subsequent meeting continues a parade of derogatory assertions regarding "cults" and more recently, statements from a number of religious scholars indicating that the inquisition mandated by the Resolution is illegal, unconstitutional and based upon views of prejudice and bigotry rather than legitimate concerns.

    The Resolution and the Conduct of Task Force Members is Unconstitutional

  42. Nearly every person to testify regarding the scope of the Task Force's inquiry and the nature of the alleged problem addressed, spoke to the religious practices sought to be examined and restrained. Several of the Task Force members have publicly commented at the meetings of their intention that their activities not

  43. In the several months of its existence, the Task Force has been unable to fashion even a definition for the term "cult" because every definitional criteria is obviously religious or in seeking to avoid religion, is ridiculous. Even its Chairman recognized that it is problematic to investigate religious "cults."

  44. Any doubt as to whether or not the Resolution calls for an investigation of and potential targeting of religious groups is reasonably dispelled by such recognition of this fact by the State of Maryland. The State maintains a webpage of legislative enactments and proposals, indexed to specific topics. Under the topical heading "RELIGION - see also - CHURCHES," is listed the Resolution at issue.

  45. The acts of the Task Force are also unconstitutional in that they seek to derogate certain religions in preference to others. The persons whose testimony gave rise to the Resolution and many of the persons invited to testify before the Task Force promote obvious religious preferences for longer established religions which would, through the inquisition into "cults," enjoy a governmental preference over the targeted groups.

  46. In the context of the Task Force investigation the Maryland University System has distributed a questionnaire seeking to learn if any of its employees as resident assistants are "cult members." Further, the Task Force has not limited itself to deliberations in chambers, but has held meetings at several Maryland University System campuses - spreading the prejudices created by its mandate by promoting it as an investigation through the System.

  47. A second questionnaire, this one created by the Task Force itself, asks counselors to divulge confidential information volunteered by students about their religious associations, in effect turning psychological counselors into agents of the state to collect damaging intelligence about religious organizations. These activities create a serious chilling effect upon the free exercise of religion both by students and employees of the University System, and also tend to dis-establish or restrict the ability of minority religions both to exercise religious belief and to promote and establish their religion in the face of such official antagonism. Such activities also constitute violations of the rights of association and privacy of members of the targeted religious organizations.

  48. The issuance of a report by the Task Force would constitute a substantial infringement of the free exercise of religion by those persons who belong to religious minorities seeking to practice freely their faith, by chilling their desire and ability freely to do so, and impinging upon and restricting their rights of association and privacy. Similarly, the issuance and publication of any "findings" of the Task Force derogatory of religious minorities would tend to dis-establish or prevent the establishment of such religions.

  49. The State legislature has acknowledged that funding for the activities is derived from existing general state funds and the Resolution designates employees on the state payroll to administer the activities of the Task Force.

    FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

    Violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution

  50. Plaintiffs incorporate herein all paragraphs set forth above as if re-pleaded in this Count.

  51. By investigating the religious beliefs and practices of targeted religious minorities, by mandating preferences for some religions over other religions, by chilling the rights of adherents to certain religions to the practice of their faith, and by utilizing government funds, government employees, government facilities and government pronouncements in such endeavors, the defendants have violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

    Violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution

  52. Plaintiffs incorporate herein all paragraphs set forth above as if re-pleaded in this Count.

  53. By investigating the religious beliefs and practices of targeted religious minorities, by chilling the rights of plaintiffs and others from practicing their religions, by impeding the right of dissemination and promulgation by adherents of certain religions, and by utilizing government funds, government employees, government facilities and government pronouncements in such endeavors, the defendants have violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

    Violation of Article 36 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution

  54. Plaintiffs incorporate herein all paragraphs set forth above as if re-pleaded in this Count.

  55. By investigating the religious beliefs and practices of targeted religious minorities, by impeding the right of dissemination and promulgation by adherents of certain religions, by mandating preferences for some religions over other religions, by chilling the rights of adherents to certain religions to the practice of their faith, and by utilizing government funds, government employees, government facilities and government pronouncements in such endeavors, the defendants have violated Article 36 of the Declaration of Rights of the Maryland Constitution.

    FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

    Violation of International Law Respecting Human Rights

  56. Plaintiffs incorporate herein all paragraphs set forth above as if re-pleaded in this Count.

  57. The Resolution and subsequent implementation by the Task Force is inconsistent with and violates the prescriptions and proscriptions of several international treaties to which the United States is a signatory and thus is in violation of the supreme law of the United States pursuant to Article VI of the United States Constitution. The treaty provisions which are violated include Articles 2, 7, 18, 19, and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 217A(3) on 10 December 1948; Articles 2(1), 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted and opened for signature by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2200A(XXI) on December 16, 1966 and entered into force on March 23, 1976. These two United Nations instruments require nondiscrimination, equality before the law, and equal protection of the law without any discrimination as to all religious organizations, including those which are newly established, nontraditional, and/or originating or based in other countries.

  58. The Maryland Resolution and its implementation are also in derogation of Articles 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 of the American Convention on Human Rights signed by the Organization of American States on November 22, 1969 and entered into force July 18, 1978.

  59. The Resolution and its implementation are also inconsistent with the principles set forth in Articles 13(f) and 16 (including sections (a) - (k)) of the Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of Representatives of the Participating States in Europe adopted in Vienna on January 17, 1989.


      Relief Sought

      Wherefor, plaintiffs seek:

      1. A declaration that the Resolution is facially unconstitutional and void;

      2. A declaration that the conduct of the Task Force is unconstitutional;

      3. A preliminary and permanent injunction against defendants from implementation of the Resolution;

      4. A preliminary and permanent injunction against defendants from issuing any "report" or "findings" in the name of the Task Force.

      5. Reasonable costs and fees arising out of this action.

      Dated: August 16, 1999

      Respectfully submitted,

       

      ______________________

      Kendrick Moxon
      MOXON & KOBRIN
      3055 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 900
      Los Angeles, CA 90010
      (213) 487-4468

      Lee Boothby
      4545 42nd St. NW, Suite 201
      Washington D.C. 20016
      (202) 363-1773

      Eric Lieberman
      RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD, KRINSKY &LIEBERMAN, P.C.
      740 Broadway, 5th Floor
      New York, NY 10003
      (212) 254-1111

      Counsel for Plaintiffs