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BOISE — Warnings against socialism and Marxism, a charge that the U.S. government is a criminal syndicate and numerous references to God and the Bible were part of a rally of self-described patriot groups Monday in Boise.

The event was to observe Patriots Day, recognized in Idaho and some other states to commemorate the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. Those conflicts on April 19, 1775, started the American Revolutionary War.

Several Tea Party rally participants were present in the crowd of about 50 people at the Statehouse steps.

Payette political commentator William Grigg told the gathering that armed self-defense is what separates “free individuals from slaves.”

“The government ruling us today is the largest and most powerful criminal syndicate in existence,” Grigg said.

Chuck Seldon of Boise, who promotes teaching the Bible in public schools, opened the meeting by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. He said the country has wandered from its Christian roots.

“I really believe (President) Obama has been given to us to shock us into realizing this is a Christian nation,” Seldon said.

Caldwell Democrat Judy Ferro, a candidate for District 10 representative, responded to rally participants’ statements by saying that the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index has gone up more than 2,000 points since Obama took office and that the job situation has improved.

“I can understand people being anxious and angry when the economy is down and the future is uncertain,” Ferro said. “What I can’t understand is adults thinking that divisiveness and bullying ever helps.”

Three participants at the rally dressed as Ben Franklin, Davy Crockett and Lady Liberty. A Tea Party Boise official spoke, as did the chairman of the Constitution Party in Idaho.

Many speakers warned that the U.S. Constitution is under attack by Congress.

Grigg responded to the claim that the Republican Party has become the party of “no.”

“We proudly embrace that description,” Grigg said. He said he supports saying no to what he calls bad public policy.

The event was not meant to be politically partisan, Rep. Pete Nielson, R-Mountain Home, said. Nielson co-sponsored the 2006 bill that made April 19 Patriots Day in Idaho.

Socialism, Nielson said, was giving up property to people who haven’t earned it.

“If you’re willing to subscribe to the idea of just this much socialism,” Nielson said as he held two fingers close together, “what property do you want to give up?”

Former state representative Elizabeth Allan Hodge also spoke. She said after her remarks that the event was not about party affiliation.

“I think it’s a lot of Americans who have come together with concerns about what’s going on with our country,” Hodge said. “He (Obama’s) not the only government. The government is bipartisan.”

Torrie Lacy of GOOOH, or Get Out of our House, said Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for public policy that does not follow the U.S. Constitution. GOOOH seeks to replace Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House with independents who represent their districts’ interests without special-interest money. Voters shouldn’t have to choose between Republicans and Democrats only, Lacy said.

“You no longer have to choose between the red pill and the blue pill, which is essentially the same thing because of the progressive movement,” Lacy said.

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