Below is RenewAmerica's "Action Guide for Ten Commandments Rallies." Please use it to help you organize rallies in your area.
Note that the Guide is meant to be adapted to each state--and to each locality--differently, depending on what volunteers in each state want to do in holding rallies. We don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed by the comprehensive suggestions in the Guide.
On the other hand, if you and other volunteers in your state distribute the burden among yourselves, and also bring in additional volunteers to help you, you can do great things as a group--without anyone carrying too heavy a load. How this is done is entirely up to the volunteers in each state.
We'd appreciate any suggestions you may have for improving the guide.
The following Action Guide is designed to help volunteers organize and stage Ten Commandments rallies in their area. Everything is presented in a way that can easily be adapted to any scale.
RenewAmerica has joined with Vision America, America 21, and other affiliates in sponsoring Restore the Commandments rallies throughout the United States.
The purpose of these rallies is to pressure Congress--in harmony with Article 3, Section 2, of the Constitution--to end the federal courts' usurpation of First and Tenth Amendment rights of the American people and their individual states.
For over forty years, unelected federal judges have taken upon themselves to unlawfully legislate from the bench, imposing a social agenda upon an electorate that does not generally share that agenda. The Constitution forbids such unrepresentative rule by despotic judges.
The latest usurpation of the rights of the people and of their states centers in federal judge Myron Thompson's order that the Ten Commandments be removed from view in the Alabama Supreme Court building--an order utterly without basis in statutory law.
The day that Judge Thompson's order was carried out--Aug. 27, 2003--a Gallup poll showed that 77% of Americans supported Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's right to exhibit the Commandments in the courthouse.
We at RenewAmerica want to mobilize this public sentiment in peaceful, but vocal, rallies from shore to shore--in state capitals, in major cities, in embattled halls of local government wherever First and Tenth Amendment rights are under siege from dictatorial judges who ignore the plain language of the Constitution.
As a volunteer in this effort, you are vital to helping us build the nationwide movement needed to persuade Congress to limit the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary to what is expressly constitutional. With the efforts of yourself and other like-minded citizens, we will make a difference in this critical battle.
Again, public opinion is with us. Let's take full advantage of that reality and build upon it until the voice of the so-called "silent majority" resounds overwhelmingly across our country--in support of religious freedom and the sanctity of states' rights.
Where to start
If you haven't done so already, begin by filling out the "Restore the Commandments" rallies sign up form, so we can organize our volunteers state by state, and so we can also keep track of everyone's skills, interests, and preferred roles. Go to http://www.renewamerica.us/rally_form.php
Don't wait to get organized before doing something. Start thinking of ways to plan, hold, or assist with rallies. Do some checking about what's involved. Attend any already-planned rallies in your region of the nation, if you can. This will inspire you to hold similar rallies in your state.
Prepare yourself--prayerfully and thoughtfully--so that you personally might make a difference!
Immediately multiply your numbers by recruiting friends, relatives, co-workers, fellow worshipers, local clergy, local conservative leaders, etc., to help you organize one or more rallies. Please ask these new volunteers to fill out the sign-up form..
The moment you have enough volunteers (about a half-dozen will sufficeto get started), organize a rally committee in your state.
To help you, we've sorted existing volunteer information state by state. You can access both a state list and a nationwide list at http://www.renewamerica.us/rallies (This is a secured part of RenewAmerica, and you will need a username and a password. When you sign up, you will receive these automatically.) Use these lists to communicate with other volunteers in your area, as well as nationally, as you undertake to get organized.
As new people sign up at RenewAmerica.us, their data will automatically be posted on these lists. Please check the lists frequently and bring newcomers into your organizing efforts.
As a committee, begin creating plans for rallies in your state. Designate someone--or a small group--to lead the effort. Make sure all rally volunteers are given meaningful things to do, in harmony with their sign-up data. Get everyone involved as soon as possible who signs up. Keep in close contact with everyone in the effort, at least in your basic area. But also feel free to share your ideas and insights with all volunteers nationally--to keep everyone in this nationwide effort informed and inspired.
Encourage everyone in your state organization to take initiative. There is no need for anyone to feel that their hands are tied, or that things will simply be done by someone else. We're engaged in "grassroots activism"--and everyone's creative energy is vitally needed.
At the same time, all involved need to respect each other's talents, knowledge, and designated role. Try to strike a practical balance between individual initiative and group (or managed) effort, to avoid chaos. The key is cooperation.
Obtain information about "hot spots" in your state that would be ideal locations for staging rallies. Are there cities or counties already under siege for displaying religious symbols? If no location is under immediate threat, consider holding rallies in your state capital or in a large metropolitan area, for maximum media exposure.
Once you've identified one or two locations for a rally, get serious plans underway. The following are field-tested suggestions.
Planning a rally
The first step is to find out what crowd permits may be required by law at the location selected. Have someone do careful research on this vital issue with local authorities, so there are no legal problems or surprises down the road.
Have someone investigate other questions about the location chosen--such things as attendance capacity, available parking, travel directions, electrical facilities on site (for PA, recording, etc.), restrictions on noise, required rent or deposit, required insurance, security requirements, best positioning of a podium, best positioning of a crowd, etc.
It is vital that your committee learn all the facts pertaining to the desired location. It is also essential that you become acquainted with the people in charge of the facility, and earn their confidence.
Immediately start raising funds to cover any logistical or other costs of staging a rally. Expect the cost of bringing in and accommodating big-name speakers to be borne primarily by the national organizations sponsoring these speakers--but it may also be necessary to subsidize these costs locally, to some extent, to make a visit more attractive and affordable to these organizations.
In any case, expect a rally to cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to cover up-front expenses. Insurance can be pricey, as can a PA system, outdoor lighting (if needed), security, parking control, etc. Make a realistic list of projected costs--and see what can be provided free by volunteers.
The cheapest (and most effective) place to hold a rally would be in or outside a public building, such as a state capitol, courthouse, county offices--anywhere the public can gather at low cost (and to which the media is accustomed to going).
Line up contingency (or supplemental) speakers, in case no big-name speakers are available (and to provide local involvement in the event). A good rally will feature at least a few local dignitaries, religious leaders, grassroots figures, etc., to build local interest in the event and to ensure local follow-through afterward in mobilizing the general public.
More important than who speaks at an event is taking steps beforehand and afterward to get the rally's message to the people, in order to generate broad support for the rally's cause.
To ensure a good event, and to expand its impact, give special care to courting the media well in advance of the event. The media will cover a rally that they think will make a good news story--provided they have been "primed" about it. Let them know of your intentions, early on, in a courtesy call, visit, or e-mail. Keep them occasionally posted as things take shape. Nurture contacts in the media. (Assign someone with experience to handle this.)
Of course, the bigger the event the better--as far as the media is concerned. Likewise, the more "attractive" the speakers, the better. (Note that the media will flock to events featuring the governor, the state attorney general, mayors, popular public figures, well-known religious spokesmen, sports personalities, etc.) Let the media see the event take form, and then make sure the event is as spectacular and interesting as possible--in ways consistent with its purpose.
To attract media interest in the project, start early with a letter-to-the-editor campaign (along with a few well-written, well-placed editorials) alerting the public to the upcoming rally and to the critical issues surrounding it. A good letter writing campaign will not only influence the public, but make media editors aware of public support for a cause.
Good build-up through letters to editors will also result in new volunteers. (Be sure to mention where people can sign up.)
Get representatives on talk radio, as you seek to build interest in the event. Mention where volunteers can sign up. Actively recruit volunteers through the airwaves.
Organize phone trees, e-mail campaigns, website banner ads, etc., to build interest in the upcoming rally and to recruit volunteers.
Make a serious effort to actively recruit big-name volunteers.
Because public interest in First Amendment rights and the Ten Commandments is high, do not hesitate to directly approach powerful leaders and public officials in your state. Many will be happy to lend support, give contacts, provide expertise, etc. Think big, and bring on board everyone of influence. Make the rally a memorable event!
But don't seek out only the powerful. The help of energetic people at the grassroots is essential to staging a successful rally. Get as many volunteers lined up as possible, and put them all to work.
Make a comprehensive list of "little" details that could easily get overlooked--including signs and banners; T-shirts with slogans; patriotic balloons; flags; PA and podium; chairs for dignitaries; arrangements for recording, videotaping, and photographing of the event; parking and crowd supervision; etc. (Check the rally sign-up sheet for a fairly complete checklist of details.)
Don't feel obligated to do more than you can do. The above suggestions can be down-scaled to holding a rally that is not meant to be elaborate or costly. Even modest-sized rallies can have great impact, especially if the media take interest.
To complement major rallies, we need hundreds--even thousands--of smaller rallies to be held throughout our nation, conducted by local activists who have limited time and resources. Do whatever you can do.
With that in mind, consider starting out with smaller rallies involving local neighborhoods, congregations, businesses, schools, conservative groups, families, etc.--to make an immediate statement and gain experience. The more such rallies there are, the better. Fifty enthusiastic people standing on a street corner with signs can make quite an impression. (Don't forget the permit.)
You can then proceed--after these successes and with the new volunteers they attract--to stage one or more large-scale rallies in the months ahead, as opportunity, manpower, and necessity suggest.
ABOVE ALL--KEEP FOCUSED!! Don't let the rally message get hijacked by a special interest group, or be clouded by piling on other messages. Keep things clear and simple. The unifying message of the rally will resonate across the broad base of the electorate and result in positive change.
Get the word out!
Next to logistical considerations, media relations, and volunteer recruiting, the most important thing is wide publicity of date, time, and place just before the event.
At least a week before the event (if you want good media coverage), send well-written press releases to all print and broadcast media in your state, and follow up with phone calls. Don't be intimidated--many media will promote the rally if they sense that public support is behind it. Be sure to invite the media to attend the event!
Call up (or e-mail) well-selected media representatives and arrange for local event organizers to be interviewed in print, on radio, and on television. Don't be shy. Make yourself available.
Don't rely on media publicity, only! Post fliers everywhere. Hand out fliers in malls, at public gatherings, at grand openings, etc. Go directly to the public and inform them.
As with early build-up, get representatives on talk radio to publicize the day, time, and location of the event.
Ten days before the event, utilize phone trees, phone banks, e-mail campaigns, banner ads, etc., in an all-out blitz to publicize the event.
Keep us informed about what you're doing, as things develop, and we'll post your event at RenewAmerica once you're certain of date, time, and place.
The more significant your event, the more you will want to make sure that you get good tape or video recordings--as well as good photos--of the rally. Please promptly send a copy of these, if you can, to the RenewAmerica archivist at P.O. Box 50502, Provo, UT 84605-0502, so we can post write-ups at RenewAmerica.us. (You can also e-mail files to firstname.lastname@example.org )
Using the recordings and pictures you've obtained, send press releases to the media in your state. Be sure to have a good writer prepare these, and be sure anything sent out is carefully edited. Try to e-mail or fax these articles within a day or two after the event.
Newspapers will often publish--or adapt--press releases of important events sent by persons close to the proceedings, since their own staffers may be unable to attend. Base articles on good quotes from event speakers.
Turn any useful video or audio into products for dissemination to the public. Please keep the cost of purchase reasonable, to get these into the hands of the most people.
As opportunity presents itself, replicate the above planning and hosting process again--on any useful scale--to spread enthusiasm for reclaiming our First Amendment rights and pressure Congress to act in limiting the judiciary.
Remember that effective grassroots activity attracts people who are willing to take greater interest in the political process. Be sure to collect names and e-mail addresses of rally attendees who may want to get more involved, and forward this information to RenewAmerica.us (and its affiliated organizations, as appropriate) for follow up.
And be sure to invite interested attendees to sign up to help with future rallies. Every rally is an opportunity to build strength in our common cause of renewing America.