Freedom of Association

The Constitutional right “peaceably to assemble” is a cherished American principle and a building block of liberty. The right to join organizations and groups and engage in public speech was guaranteed by our founding documents.

The Founders understood the value of shared knowledge through assembly, as John Adams stated in a 1765 treatise on law, “liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.”

The right to assemble, or engage in “free association” is inextricably linked to other First Amendment provisions such as religious liberty and freedom of speech.

Freedom of Association covers Americans’ right to assemble in furtherance of common goals, including meetings, rallies, marches and other public gatherings. In recent years, the left has repeatedly attacked conservative assemblies by making false accusations about the participants or by physically and violently shutting them down.

The right to assemble has been a key ingredient in moving toward greater liberty and providing full Constitutional rights to American citizens. The end of slavery, providing women and black Americans with the vote, protecting the unborn and many issues of liberty, civil rights and societal progress would not have been achieved without the right to assemble.

Since the COVID pandemic started in America, ACRU has been naming and shaming “Crisis Tyrants” — liberal governors and officials who used the COVID virus as an excuse to prevent the lawful assembly of groups of people. Churches, synagogues and mosques were most often the target of the left’s oppressive closures, often calling for the lockdown or onerous restrictions of houses of worship as other assemblies were allowed.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was named ACRU’s first Crisis Tyrant of the COVID pandemic in April, when she issued a selective assembly edict by closing gun ranges while tagging marijuana stores as “essential” so they could remain open.

In October in San Francisco, peaceful pro-free speech conservatives at a local rally—who were playing Christian music— were violently attacked by leftist “anti-fascist” counter-protestors. This was not a unique occurrence in America last year.

People of faith and political conservatives should expect even more infringement on their rights to assemble, as the left uses the permitting process, media intimidation and outright violence to shut down the rights of anyone to assemble who are not their ideological partner.

American Constitutional Rights Union will stand firm for the rights of every American to assemble peacefully, in small or large groups, and on every side of the ideological spectrum.

Support the ACRU’s work on the Freedom of Association by donating today.