Comments Posted By gopaldasi
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The main impetus for posting was to serve the devotees by: 1) Raising awareness of the legal implications of entering onto private property and engaging in activity that is not sanctioned by the private property owner and, 2) Suggesting that sankirtan devotees inquire regarding retailer’s solicitation policies in order to conform his or her activity to the law.
I was rather alarmed by the advice given in Bhakta Corey’s article and wanted to provide devotees with information so that they can be better-informed decision-makers. I’m not implying that devotees cease from engaging in sankirtan – simply that they engage in sankirtan in a well-educated, thoughtful manner. If a devotee chooses to skirt or break the law that is his or her choice.
In the United States trespass law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, therefore it is possible to speak in only very general legal terms. My “assumptions” regarding the legality of trespass/solicitation on private property stem from my legal education – and are by no means exhaustive or applicable to every locality. Perhaps local Temple Presidents or GBC members are well versed in applicable local law and can provide on-point information to sankirtan devotees.
Retailers and others that invite the public onto their property do so for specific purposes. Certainly devotees are not barred from entering property owned by private retailers but once they begin to solicit, in violation of the private retailers policy, the devotee’s presence becomes illegal. The presence is illegal once the non-sanctioned activity begins not once one is caught (just as theft is illegal as soon as an item is stolen – not just when a person is caught stealing).
I am not implying that retailers with a no-solicitation policy will have a solicitor sanctioned for his or her conduct, I am simply pointing out the illegality of that conduct. Certainly even retailers with no-solicitation policies may provide exemptions to charities etc. However, just because one is affiliated with a charitable or religious organization his or her solicitation is not automatically exempted from the policy. Many well-known organizations such as the Salvation Army have been blocked from solicitation by many of the large chain stores. In order for solicitation to be exempted proper inquiry, application etc. must generally be made.
I wish everyone the best in all their pursuits!
» Posted By gopaldasi On Jun 20, 2007 @ 5:46 pm
I just wanted to post a quick reminder that book distribution in many of the places advocated by Bhakta Corey is trespass. Although a devotee understands that everything is Krishna’s – the law in the United States operates with a different understanding. Depending on the locality trespass could result in a criminal or civil charge. Most “big chain” stores (including Wal-Mart) have posted solicitation policies that outline what behavior is or is not permitted on the property that the company owns. Malls generally have separate policies and are often required by law to permit a certain amount of solicitation/free speech. In order to conform behavior to the law it seems advisable to inquire at each privately owned location regarding the particular solicitation policy. Certainly ISKCON devotees should refrain from illegal activity and Dandavats should be careful not to participate in the encouragement of illegal conduct.
» Posted By gopaldasi On Jun 18, 2007 @ 10:13 pm
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I’m slightly confused by Malati dasi’s post. Can she clarify exactly what she means by “do the right thing”? I’m sure that this connotes various meanings to various people. Is she implying that the GBC is going to thoroughly examine the GBC members, ISKCON temple presidents and ISKCON diksa gurus? If so I’d like to request that they make an honest an open assessment looking at least minimally at who has 1) Committed spousal abuse, 2) Not reported know spousal abuse to state and local authorities, 3) Committed child abuse (including abuse and neglect of their own children), 4) Not reported known child abuse to state and local authorities, 5) Participated in the sexual abuse and coercion of women, including prostitution, threatening behavior and actions and abuse of power, 6) Not reported known sexual abuse and coercion to state and local authorities, 7) Exploited the labor of non-US citizens through tactics such as holding passports and threatening deportation.
» Posted By gopaldasi On Jul 6, 2006 @ 8:11 pm
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