The First Amendment to the constitution reads: 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.
Look at it. It says plainly that congress shall make no law that abridges the freedom of speech. But these guys are on trial for TALKING. For expressing their opinions, no matter the content, about our government. For talking about what they would do if "the war" starts. There was no plan, no preparations to initiate war on our government. It was talk, plain and simple.
(Abridgement is defined as:
1. to shorten by omissions while retaining the basic contents: to abridge a reference book.
2. to reduce or lessen in duration, scope, authority, etc.; diminish; curtail: to abridge a visit; to abridge one's freedom.
3. to deprive; cut off.)
It says Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. These guys are on trial because they (well some of them) are Christians. The Bible plainly speaks of a time that will come when government will inflict an establishment of religion, and that those who oppose it will be imprisoned, tortured even. They will be unable to buy or sell for their basic needs. It says to be ready. And when it happens, the government, and the "police" will be the enemy. Whether or not you agree with the theology here, they (mostly the Stone family) believe this is coming. It could be now, it could be a generation from now, no one knows for sure the time, but it is coming. They are on trial for an expression of faith. Preparing for what God says is to come.
It says Congress shall make no law restricting peaceable assembly. These guys are on trial for assembling peaceably. Now I get, that it can be hard to emotionally justify the word peaceable, with the phrases "weapons training" and "military maneuvers", but the fact remains, no one was hurt or killed at these meetings. No one was forcibly held against their will. No one was coerced by force, or threat of force, to attend or participate. It was peaceable.
(Peaceable is defined as:
inclined or disposed to avoid strife or dissention; not argumentative or hostile: a peaceable person; a peaceable disposition)
And that's just the First Amendment! At some point I will take a deeper look at the Second Amendment (the right to assemble militias), the Fourth Amendment (the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures), and the Sixth Amendment (in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial). The grey area in which the prosecution and the judicial system is treading is astounding.
This trial is about far more than it appears. It is wielding the potential to impinge further on our already increasingly limited freedoms. It's definitely something to think about.