As of 2016, our constitutional form of government is well over 200 years old; specifically 240 years ago, our Founding Fathers were engaged in a struggle for the success of a great experiment in government, which outcome was far from certain. Upon independence from Great Britain, the framers of the constitution took up the task of making the new nation work. The start of the Constitution began in 1787 and was finally ratified the following year in 1788. Important to this process was the provision that the document could be amended at a later time if the need arose. The first ten amendments, (commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights) was critical in the protection and provision of individual liberty and rights for the citizens of the new nation. Since this time, more amendments have been added; however, the original amendments have come under direct attack in the last 50 years, and some of these have been “redefined” by the so-called progressives of the Left who have been trying for some time to erode as much meaning from these documents as possible. Their purpose is to promote an agenda that is much different and maligned from the original concept that was intended.
What does the First Amendment say? It states,
“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.”
Now, what exactly does this mean? First, we have the establishment clause that states that the government will not pass laws in regards to religion nor is it allowed to prohibit anyone from worshipping according to their beliefs. This was important to these early citizens in that they did not want the establishment of a state-controlled religion. They had already seen this in play in Europe and they were not interested. The next section mentions freedom of speech. Now that liberty was attained, it was important that liberty be given a voice; after all, what kind of liberty would you have if you could not speak according to your conscience on matters that were of supreme importance? Next was freedom of the press, in that the right to provide and distribute information without government intervention was also equally important. Finally, we have the freedom of assembly. Our government allows its citizens to gather as a group to voice its concerns and complaints in a peaceable manner.
So, what does this not mean? Well, the argument about “separation of church and state”, as defined by the “enlightened” of the Left, is a far cry from the original meaning. In fact, the statement “separation of church and state” is not even found in the Constitution. As mentioned before, the Founding Fathers were trying to ensure that no one’s religious exercise (or lack of) would be interfered with. Through the years, this principle is constantly being eroded by politicians and judges that keep redefining this in order to create a hybrid “separation of church and state”, but in their own image as to how it would function. This is why you read constantly about protests concerning the Nativity, display of the Ten Commandants, the Cross, etc. (although it’s odd, isn’t it, that the objection is mainly about Judeo-Christian objects?). Next is free speech, but I will address that shortly.
The freedom of the Press, in the last 50 years has turned into nothing more than an extension of Leftist ideas and philosophy. The news media does not simply report news anymore, they interpret them. This is done using a socialistic worldview as the template to filter all stories and articles through. All one has to do is look at the type of coverage that is given Liberal politicians or issues and compare it with Conservatives. Usually, the coverage shows a conservative in a negative light, accompanied by the most un-complementary photo or video that can be found to make them look or sound like a buffoon. One can argue very easily that this is not responsible journalism by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, however we have an entire generation that has “drunk the Kool-Aid” from the liberal well and they readily believe most of what is told to them. In essence, they have been sold a bill of goods and have no idea what they just signed for. This is largely the result of socialistic ideas that have festered in our colleges for the past 30 to 40 years. Fortunately, with the advent of the internet, people can do their own research and, most importantly, come to their own conclusions.
I want to address freedom of speech and assembly together, as I believe these two are closely interwoven to each other. Actually, the argument can be made that they are two sides of the same coin. We Americans have just finished one of the most controversial and divisive Presidential elections in history. The entire nation and the world watched as election results poured in and a winner was declared. As the night wore on, and the results looked like a victory for Donald Trump, the Left and their disciples more than just exercised freedom of speech or assembly; they imploded and exploded. For the next several days, protesting and a barrage of social media took storm as the despair went into full meltdown mode. Now I ask the question; is this truly freedom of speech/assembly? The answer is yes… and no. In order to tackle this tricky question, we truly have to address the 800 pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to see. Our Constitution does give us the right to speak out against injustices and concerns as we see fit. It also gives us the right to gather as a collective group and do the same thing. However, does it give us the right to throw what amounts to a temper tantrum and shout explicates laced with f-bombs in every other sentence? Or protest and stop traffic, destroy property, torch the neighborhood and attack other people? Our friends on the Left will simply tell us that these folks are expressing themselves (although I don’t seem to remember this type of behavior displayed on the Right when Barack Obama won…). The bottom line is this: the Constitution is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind, written by men who held principle and responsibility as the keystone to the fabric of society. We must be vigilant in our times, to ensure that this gift can be passed on to future generations.
Judge Napolitano speaking on the First Amendment-
Written by: Rudy Smith
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