THE FIRST AMENDMENT: OUR FIRST FREEDOMS

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. - U.S. Const. Amend. I

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

The Founding Fathers created the Constitution for two important reasons:

  1. To prevent tyranny; and
  2. To protect liberty

Indeed, the Founders understood that as the power of government increases, freedom decreases. And to limit that power, they created genius structures of government such as separation of powers, bicamerical legislatures, judicial review, etc.

 

In addition to the Constitution, the Founders adopted the Bill of Rights with the aim to further limit the possibility of a tyrannical government. The Bill of Rights doesn't confer rights to the People, they enshrine natural, God-given rights for protection against enemies of freedom and liberty.  In other words, they don't give Americans special privileges; they give the federal government limitations.

 

Indeed, as one Christian constitutional lawyer once said, the Bill of Rights are "man’s attempt at codifying transcendent and inalienable rights endowed by our Creator—rights that were alluded to in the very declaration that announced our freedom."

 

Freedom of Speech

 

The first of these inalienable rights is the right to freedom of speech, which allows Americans to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. Indeed, the government has a powerful burden to justify why it would interfere or regulate the the right of free speech.

 

However, the government may prohibit some speech, for example, if it is obscene, could cause a breach of the peace, or incite violence.

 

Ultimately, the freedom of speech allows the people to peacefully rebel against those in power. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has long acknowledged that concerning oneself in public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.

 

To conclude, even though it is just one bulwark against tyranny, it is often said that without the freedom of speech, America would cease to be a free people.

 

Religious Liberty

 

There is no doubt that religious liberty is under attack.  From abortion to gay marriage to home church, unelected, unaccountable federal judges have transfored America from a God-fearing Nation to one that is mired in immorality and malaise. 

 

Two clauses in the First Amendment protect freedom of religion:

  1. The Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another.
    • This clause enforces the so-called "separation of church and state", a phrase that is found no where in our Constitution, but was hijacked by anti-Christian progressives to undermine our Nation's Judeo-Christian heritage.
  2. The Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person's practice of their religion.

 

Freedom of Assembly

 

Under freedom of assembly, Americans, because they have a right to association and belief, can gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. However, the federal government can prohibit people from knowingly associating in groups that engage and promote illegal activities. What constitutes "illegal" is a growing concern among those who are seen as enemies by the radical Left.

 

In addition, the government can't force individuals to express themselves, hold certain beliefs, or belong to particular associations or groups. Once again, due to the many anti-Christian, anti-gunholder activists within the government, the threat of coercion is very real.

 

Finally, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances means people have the right to ask the government to for justice through litigation or other governmental action. It protects Americans' rights to form a coalition to influence government action. 

 

Conclusion

 

Today, our freedoms are being eroded by expanding bureaucratic state and moral degeneration advanced by radical leftists and anti-Christians. Dangerously, to these people the Constitution is an archaic document that should be shredded. No doubt times are dark. But as Thomas Paine once said: 

 

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

 

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