Dayton Rally: Put Down Your Signs

Posted by Ruth Deddens (June 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm)

Police at Dayton’s Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally Friday seem to have violated one clause of the First Amendment while protesters were rallying about another.

After the rally began, campus police told the approximately 400 attendees they had to put their signs on the ground. Nothing like it happened at any of the other 160-some noon rallies at cities around the country.

Bryan Kemper, one of the rally’s speakers, says he’s never seen anything like it. Now Youth Outreach Coordinator for Priests for Life, Kemper has had a long career in pro-life work with teens and young adults. The founder both Rock for Life and Stand True Pro-Life Outreach, he has spoken at rallies and events around the country for more than a decade. “This is a first,” he says.

Fr. Kyle Schnippel, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, opened the rally, which included numerous short talks. After the second talk, he says, “the MC was interrupted, an organizer came over and told us we had to lower our signs.
“It was odd for all of us who where there,” he says. “There was even a banner 10 to 12 feet across they had to take down. I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

Fr. Schnippel said the speakers were told the sign ban had something to do with complaints from members of a homosexual organization at the school. Ruth Deddens, the rally captain, said the student sponsors of the group, the Traditional Values Club, had received emails that bothered them two days before the rally. The Dayton Daily News cited previous frictionbetween the TV Club and the BriTe SiGnaL Alliance, a group for gay students.

The college told the Dayton Daily News its sign policy is being reviewed. Kemper, who gave away pro-life stickers on the sidewalk because of Sinclair’s restrictions, says the school’s actions “will not go unchallenged.” And the students whose complaints were said to have started the campus police’s intervention? “I started my talk saying that I didn’t agree with them, but I would fight for their right to carry signs. I would fight for any group’s right to carry signs.”

Click here for Bryan Kemper’s blog post on the rally, including videos of a discussion with campus police and his rally speech.

Photos courtesy Stand Up for Religious Freedom Dayton. Click here for a gallery of photos from the Rally’s Facebook Page.

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5 Responses to “Dayton Rally: Put Down Your Signs”

  1. Catherine Rader says:

    Taken directly from the Sinclair Community College website, this is what Sinclair calls the “Honor Code.”

    I especially like the part of the code that addresses citizenship, where they pledge to “Actively participate in democracy through voting, community involvement and awareness, and by protecting one’s own and others’ rights”

    Under the direction of the General Education Committee, the Sinclair Honor Code addresses the General Education concepts of values and citizenship and is intended as an ideal to which the students, faculty, and staff of the college aspire. This code resembles the credos and ethical codes of many professions and also aligns itself with basic issues of good citizenship and ethical behavior.

    Sinclair Honor Code

    As a member of the Sinclair College community of students, faculty, and staff, I will uphold the values of citizenship, social-responsibility, and personal accountability. I will maintain the highest standards of professional and academic ethics. I will uphold my personal integrity, dignity, and self-respect by being fair and honest at all times and by treating all individuals with respect. By honoring these ideals, I will be building a better future for myself, my college, and my local, regional, and global communities.

    What the Honor Code is:

    The Honor Code is a statement of positive behaviors encouraging ethical practice regarding what one should do; it is a counter balance to the student, faculty, and staff codes of conduct with a positive focus on encouraging ethical behavior. It is a vehicle to promote ethical behavior and bring together all Sinclair staff, faculty, and students under shared values.

    Key concepts clarified:

    Citizenship – Actively participating in democracy through voting, community involvement and awareness, and by protecting one’s own and others’ rights
    Social responsibility – Acting in ways that promote the social good while recognizing the impact of one’s behavior on others; maintaining professional ethics at all times; and servicing the college and the community
    Personal accountability – Accepting responsibility for and answering for one’s own behavior; accepting responsibility for one’s own learning; and demonstrating academic integrity
    Respect of self and others – Valuing the diverse perspectives of others; appreciating others’ ideas; and protecting the physical and intellectual property of self and others

    Feedback can be directed to

    June 21st, 2012 at 11:55 pm
  2. Pam MH, Dayton, ohio says:

    The supporters of the rally were one of the most respectful groups I have ever stood with. There were children from infants (in the shade),to young ones now out of school for summer, to teenagers, a group of young singers, mothers, fathers, adults of all ages. All wanted to listen to the speakers in peace. The signs were simple and straightforward- “HHS mandate violates religious freedom”, “Protect Religious freedom.”, nothing off-topic, disrespectful to any group. Wisely, everyone decided to be polite, but several, calmly, said, “this is a violation of our right to free speech– How can you do this?” or simply, “freedom of speech”. Even when people put them at the ground instead of holding them up, they were repeatedly called out to lay them down, face down, and had to make a pile on the side I was standing on. If anything, this request for “No signs visible in any way”, made the group realize the HHS mandate IS a violation of religious freedom, freedom, truly. EVERY speaker had a strong, true message and galvanized the crowd, despite the interruptions, intimidation and one person parading back and forth in front of the speakers taking video of the crowd, children and speakers and another taking stills, as if we were doing something wrong- attending a rally to listen to speakers, exercising our right to assemble and right to free speech.

    June 22nd, 2012 at 8:41 am
  3. Ruth Deddens says:

    Dear friends of our Constitutional Republic of the United States of America,
    Please join together with ONE voice to protect and defend Our very special nation which has been protected by God’s hand from her founding. Please pray that our America will remain One Nation Under God With Liberty and Justice For ALL!!! It’s not about the “spin” that politicians put on the truth! it’s about our liberty to live in harmony and peace with people of different beliefs as we have under our bill of rights. Why is the Catholic church under attack? Please Stand Up For Religious Freedom! We’re ALL Catholic now! We’re ALL Jewish now! We’re all defending each others rights to FREEDOM and most especially to FREEDOM of CONSCIENCE to participate according to our individual belief so long as it doesn’t interfere with others!

    July 7th, 2012 at 12:53 am
  4. faye stein says:

    i want to know where i can get a couple of those signs i see in other peoples yard. protect religious freedom. so i can put them in my yard. i am a christian and do beleive in what those signs say. if i can get a couple of those signs. i can try and get my church involved to. cause you never know when our freedom will be taken away. thank you mrs. faye stein.

    August 23rd, 2012 at 4:46 pm
  5. Ruth Deddens says:

    We have a supply of yard signs that will be available at the next rally which is Oct. 20th at 12:00 Noon at Court House Square at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets.
    We are accepting donations so that we can purchase more signs. Please join us!

    October 15th, 2012 at 4:12 pm