What is the primary function of government?

"To secure our God-given unalienable rights," said William Taylor Reil.

Reil, a retired electrical engineer, was the instructor of a workshop on "The Constitution of Pennsylvania" held at Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall on Saturday.

The three-hour event was hosted by the Lehighton 9/12 Project.

The workshop highlighted "truths" and individual rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Reil, of Chester County, has been studying the Constitution since 1990. He warned the gathering of about 50 people who attended the event, "Our freedoms and liberties are in serious danger."

He stressed that the purpose of the workshop was to explain how to reclaim our country.

He quoted Thomas Jefferson who said, "The God who gave us light gave us liberty at the same time."

The instructor urged the participants to read the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. He said especially with the Declaration of Independence, "read all the grievances." He called it "a scary parallel" what the authors experienced and what is happening in America today.

The versions of the Constitutions for the Pa. Senate and the Pa. House of Representatives are not the same, said Reil. "In the House version, they put stuff in that isn't part of the (original) Constitution," he remarked.

He said the oath of office administered to House members is not correct, but the one administered to senators is the proper version.

The constitutions of every state are "grateful to almighty God," he told the gathering.

One of the things that Reil explained was the structure of the Constitution.

He said first is God's law, followed by Pennsylvania citizens, then the lawful Pennsylvania Constitution.

The four most powerful officers in the state are the coroner, sheriff, constable and justice of the peace.

"The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the state," he said. "The coroner can take the place of the sheriff" if necessary. In addition, under the Pa. constitution, the coroner can arrest the sheriff or serve papers on him.

It was further explained that the Supreme Court ruled there can no longer be "justices of the peace" because there are only Supreme Court justices. The justices of the peace are now called District Judges.

Members of the audience asked numerous questions on a variety of topics.

One man asked how the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection gets around the law.

Reil responded, "They get around it like everybody else does. They don't care about it. Courts protect them. The government protects them."

Also discussed as a result of audience questions was mandatory labor union membership, the right to bear arms, and the legality of construction and home improvement permits.

Reil was introduced by Sandy Dellicker, president of the Lehighton 9/12 Project. She said, "Our organization is dedicated to keeping an open eye on politicians and the state."

Jean Andrews sang the National Anthem.

Gil Henry of the Albrightsville VFW Post offered the invocation.

Copies of the Pennsylvania Constitution and related literature were distributed to participants.