Here in the U.S.A. we have something called the 1st Amendment. It was the first of ten amendments ratified on December 15, 1791 and added to the new U.S. Constitution. They were added as some citizens, primarily anti-federalists, wished to see clearly expressed protections of their God given rights.
The Federalists generally argued that specific enumeration of rights was unnecessary, as the Constitution only held certain delegated powers. In theory this was correct, but the Anti-Federalists knew that government tends to grow and that among men in power there will always be a few unscrupulous ones who will twist words to abuse the citizens.
I give this brief introduction, not to insult my readers, but for the following two reasons: (1) because the public school system in America has done such a lousy job of teaching history to students and (2) in the past month I have had several page views from the UK and South Africa, where people may not be familiar with American history or governmental structure.
The 1st Amendment reads as follows:
“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 1st Amendment guarantees our God given right to hold whatever religious opinions seem to us correct, to freely speak our minds and print such thoughts on all subjects, to peacefully assemble with our fellow citizens, and to demand our servant -the government- listen to our objections to its actions and policies.
There is no “wall of separation” between church and state in the 1st Amendment; that phrase came from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists. Many of the Founders were Christians, and acknowledged the affect that Christian morality had on our Founding and government. The amendment simply guarantees that there will be no official preference to any religion or sect of religion by the federal government.
Americans have the God given right to read, think, speak, and publish thoughts and opinions on all matters -including ones that are politically or socially controversial. We have a specifically recognized right to criticize our government.
We also have the right to assemble with each other, to discuss whatever we choose. We even have the right to petition the government when we object to it, both in writing and by public assembly.
The 1st Amendment allows me to blog and self-publish my patriot books, which would not be allowed in all the countries of the earth. The 1st Amendment even allows us to question the holy number 6 million, which I understand it is illegal to do in much of Europe.
Not every country recognizes the God given rights of its citizens as the U.S. (at least theoretically) does. The U.S. government is beginning to crack down on free speech through police intimidation, politically motivated IRS audits, hate crimes laws, etc. We had better exercise our 1st Amendment rights while our out-of-control government still recognizes them.
Copyright (c) 2016 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.