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America’s Founding Fathers considered the First Amendment to the Constitution to be the most important paragraph ever written. In a few words, it guarantees the rights of the nation’s people to have free speech, freedom from religious persecution, the freedom of the press to expose corruption, and the right to protest alleged grievances by the government.
If the 1st Amendment had not been penned by the Founding Fathers in 1789, the United States would not exist today. It would have been nothing more than a state created by men who believed in a democratic society but refused to protect the rights of its citizens. The First Amendment guarantees these rights regardless of social or economic status.
Although it is a fact that the men who created the United States were wealthy men, many of whom owned slaves, their view of the nation’s future was far more revolutionary than their situations. Somehow, they foresaw a nation when every man and woman would be equal under the law.
Five rights/freedoms are guaranteed by the Constitution’s 1st Amendment without regard to age or any other restriction.
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.
First and foremost, this amendment was based on the fact that the Founding Fathers left England in protest against the establishment of the Anglican Church as the one true religion of the British Empire. Only a few members of the Founding Fathers were Christians. Most were Deists.
“Belief in God based on reason rather than revelation or the teaching of any specific religion is known as deism…. Deists asserted that reason could find evidence God in nature and that God had created the world and then left it to operate under the natural laws devised by God.”
The men who created America forbid the establishment of a single religion as the “law of the land.” Religious zealots become extremists who oppose the rights of those who disagree with their philosophy.
Freedom of speech contains America’s most precious right: the right to vote for men and women who will represent them in the nation’s capital. While this may seem trivial to uninformed Americans, this was a guarantee that the U.S. government would never rule over its people. Voters have the right to replace any man or woman who might oppose the will of the majority.
The singular edict guaranteeing the freedom of the press was to expose and prevent corruption in government. Unfortunately, what was once known as the fourth estate no longer exists today. Advertising revenues have replaced honest reporting as proven by television “news” broadcasts on a daily basis.
Fox News created the industry standard that money trump’s newsworthy content in 1996. As a result, their viewers, Republicans, are attempting to put an end to peaceful protests. They fear the exposure of the truth.
The U.S. government is the most corrupt in the free world. Democrats and Republicans protect each other with the goal of maintaining control over the electorate. Illegal acts are ignored for the purpose of protecting indiscretion and crimes committed by our elected officials. Donald Trump’s Constitutional violations without punishment prove this fact.
Issues involving crimes by our elected officials are listed as “matters of national security.” “We, the people,” are America. Citizens have a right to know anything that affects the future of the nation.
Secrecy is unacceptable. Moreover, secrecy implies criminal activity and is based on lies.
The Constitution’s first 10 amendments, referred to as the Bill of Rights, define America. However, those rights must be applied to 21st century America. It must be extended to personal rights never imagined in 1789.
Approximately 70 million Americans reject organized religion in 2021. Voting rights are under attack from the right-wing with efforts including multiple efforts of voter suppression. The press, most notably television news, refuses to tell the complete truth. And the most egregious attack is on the right to peaceably assemble in protest to perceived Constitutional violations by our elected officials.
Every American must agree to protect the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Without this guarantee of basic freedoms, the United States of America would not exist.
Opinion News by James Turnage
History: First Amendment
Thought Co.: James Madison and the First Amendment; by Tom Head
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Wynn Pointaux’s Pixabay Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License