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.
The first part of the first amendment is known as the Establishment Clause. It prohibits the government from establishing or promoting any one religion (or no religion) over another one. Our government is prohibited from establishing any official religion or promoting any religion over another. As US citizens, we are free to practice whatever religion we choose, or none, without fear of prosecution. The second part is known as the Free Exercise Clause. It enables our freedom to exercise and express our religious beliefs including rituals free from persecution. This is why religious institutions are tax exempt and why we provide religious exemptions regarding vaccinations for example.
No Christians, our religion is very definitely NOT the official religion of the US. Some of our country’s current religions didn’t exist at all or not in our country when the constitution was written. Some of our current Christian churches broke off from other churches and established their own denomination. Christianity of some type has been the majority in the US so in that respect, most of our laws have been created and passed by Christians and reflect Christian values. Many of our forefathers came to America to escape religious persecution and to escape an official established government religion. This is one of the reasons we have a country. Our forefathers believed very strongly that no one has the right to force any particular religion on anyone. Period. They did not come here and establish Puritanism for example as our official religion. They did the opposite.
Schools are government funded and regulated by the government. No form of any religion can be promoted above another in a school. No religion can be established in a public school. We teach the basic beliefs about them all or we teach none. It’s basic to our constitution and the beliefs upon which our country was established.
My personal opinion is that one of the strengths of our country lies in freedom of religion. We cannot force someone to believe what we believe. We cannot force someone to feel what and how we feel. We can only lead people to understand and accept our personal beliefs. People have murdered each other throughout the world since the beginning of time because of religious beliefs. It’s not effective unless you completely wipe out a population. I agree with our forefathers. That’s not acceptable. Diversity and learning to live side by side each other in peace is the better way. That’s where conversations begin and differences are resolved. The flip side of this coin is that when you immigrate to the US, you agree to live under our laws. Our laws cannot be changed to favor your religion over any other or to give your religion favoritism. It’s against the first amendment.
The next parts of this amendment ensure Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. We are given the right to these two freedoms in the US. However, there are certain things that we have agreed are not acceptable as a country and are not included or are restricted. Here are a few: libel, slander, captive audience, prior restraint, absolute privacy, defamation, advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, obscenity, government speech, and commercial speech. Fore the most part, there is a common theme on all of these topics. We are free to express our views and ideas but we are not free to harm others or encourage harm to others by exercising our own right. Hurting someone’s feelings is not prohibited. Harm is actual physical harm or harm to their reputation through false statements (as examples). We aren’t free to encourage illegal behavior in others. As for Freedom of the Press, we later passed the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act to further ensure freedom of the press.
Social Media and the video craze. If your posts are intended to cause harm to an individual or entity, they are NOT protected speech.
The Politically Correct and victim culture needs to check itself at the door in my opinion. Because someone expressed an opinion opposing your beliefs, it does not mean it is hate speech. That person has as much right to their opinion and can rightfully express their view just like you can. Preventing the silencing of opposing views and ideas are the reason we have Freedom of Speech. You don’t get to silence the opposition in the United States.
The Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble is exactly what it says. We have the right to peaceably assemble. We do not have the right to riot. We do not have the right to block traffic or establishments. We do not have the right to unlawful assembly.
Lastly, we have the right to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances. We have the right to request in writing to a court or other official body, a judicial review of our grievances. In other words, we can sue somebody or ask for some other form of redress.
I am a Republican in part because I believe in our constitution and in our ability to amend the constituition to respond to changes in our society over time. I believe we are blessed by the freedoms our founding forefathers bestowed upon us. We should be teaching actual history and government in schools instead of edited versions in order to promote political agendas. We have an electoral college because our forefathers believed that every person should have representation and not just a majority, mass mob rule in our country. Donald Trump is in fact our elected president. We are not a mob ruled country. We represent everyone in all geographical locations not just the two coasts.
Here is an example of how the First Amendment works in it’s entirety:
In OKC there were boys from a Catholic School who went to a public event held at the state capital. They chose to wear Trump ballcaps. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Wearing a ballcap supporting a sitting president is NOT hate speech and is protected by the First Amendment. A few people there decided to start drama because of the hats. There was a complete video showing the events that took place which clearly showed the instigators were not the boys wearing the hats but the liberals also attending the event. The media chose to show edited blatantly misleading videos. This news story was covered nationally. The newspapers and media outlets purposely reported an edited untrue version of the story have since been sued and are losing the lawsuits. The people on social media who responded by commenting or sharing the online version of events at the time are not being sued. They were responding to the evidence presented to them. The media outlets themselves are accountable for falsehoods they promoted. As an aside, it’s truly disturbing that this was huge news and widely reported until it turned out to be false. The media has been truly remiss in correcting the false story.