In June 2010, the Grayson County Board of Supervisors denied Oracle’s permit to build an interfaith and social justice center – the Peace Pentagon – along the New River in Independence, Virginia. A dozen or so Evangelical churches strenuously opposed the project, and I was called a heretic, witch, communist, Satan worshipper, and cult leader.
Oracle appealed the denial by filing a First Amendment lawsuit against Grayson County and against the Supervisors, individually, due to the egregious nature of the Constitutional violations. We are fortunate to be represented in this matter by The Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville (www.Rutherford.org) and by litigator John B. Donohue, Jr., Esquire from Richmond. Our trial is set for November 16 and 17, 2011.
Last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, Oracle posted a petition with the help of MoveOn.org at its sister site SignOn.org. The title of the petition and its content follow:
Grayson County: Permit the Peace Pentagon!
“To the Supervisors of Grayson County: Freedom of religion is the cornerstone of our nation, and interfaith unity is the proper goal of all who profess to love God. On this solemn date – the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – help lessen the spiritual polarization in our world by approving the permit for The Oracle Institute’s interfaith and social justice center: the Peace Pentagon.”
Please help us by signing our petition and standing for religious freedom:
If built, the Peace Pentagon will be the first and only interfaith center in this rural Appalachian community, which currently supports only Christian churches. If we can get enough signatures, MoveOn.org will send our petition to all its members to help gain national support for our cause. Regardless of where or how or even if you commune with God, please join us in defending the core principle upon which our nation was founded: Religious Freedom.
Note: The Oracle Institute's formal mission statement is Thomas Jefferson's Act for Religious Freedom (Va. Code Section 57-1). The petition you sign and any comments you make at SignOn.org will be delivered to Grayson County Administrator Jonathan Sweet: firstname.lastname@example.org