The Constitution of the United States is considered sacred by most Americans and some members of our government. However, if I asked 10 people on the street what the document contains and its importance to America, I doubt that I would receive more than one realistic and semi-accurate answer. I would be more than willing to accept a broad version, simply stating that “it guarantees our basic rights which are protected by federal law.”
Here is a more precise definition.
Constitution: “a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.”
The Bill of Rights contains specifics agreed to at the Constitutional Convention, 1787-1789. The Bill of Rights was not included in the first draft, but one delegate felt it imperative that they are clearly defined and not assumed. There is no doubt that during the 233 years since the end of the convention, great changes have occurred, and the perception and analysis of the original 10 amendments are obsolete or simply do not apply literally to life in America today. The Constitution must be considered a living document. To assess it in a literal form is inconceivable.
However, there is only one direct mention of religion because this is the foundation for our government, a civil document related to all Americans, religious or not. The First Amendment declares, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” If that is not sufficiently clear, it can be easily simplified as a guarantee of separation between church and state. It is a guarantee and a promise that no one will be forced to be a member of a single religion. This is a fulfillment of the ideals of our Founding Fathers, who were obviously opposed to religious intolerance.
The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from promoting one religion over others and restricting an individual’s religious practices.
The Bill of Rights is primarily the protection of basic human rights. Every person is guaranteed the right to freedoms concerning their own person unless that exercise of freedom infringes on the rights of the majority. It is a guarantee and a promise that no American will be forced to be a member of one religion. Our Founding Fathers were members of many faiths, but most were deists, and freedom from religion was paramount in the creation of The Law of the Land.
Over the last 233 years, much has changed. Today, one entire political party is dominated by the Christian Religious Right. These extremists oppose the first amendment and seek control over the entire United States of America.
The underlying truth is that the men who control the extremist evangelical branch of Christianity are focused on power. Religion has no place in their plans for America. They deny the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and spread lies designed to control the weak-minded.
This branch of Christianity is opposed to individual freedom and seeks control over free thought and the right for humans to make decisions about their own future. They prey on those who need instruction related to how the achievement of spirituality is dependent upon the beliefs of others.
The Christian Religious Right is the only reason why the most biased and prejudiced Supreme Court in history overturned the decision of a true and less political Court in 1973. Roe v Wade was the only protection for all women to decide the fate of their own physical and mental health.
The Christian Religious Right is opposed to the intent and the promise of the first amendment. Free thought, free speech, and the rejection of dependence on a group of men standing behind a pulpit, serving a religion based on tales from pagan beliefs and pure fantasy, fear one thing: the truth. The First Amendment guarantees free thought and free speech. The key word is ‘control’ for these fake religious leaders. If the American people are encouraged and dedicated to finding their own truth, religions will cease to exist.
It has become impossible for the Constitution and Christianity to coexist. Religions are prohibited from intervening in the government of the United States, but this never stopped elected officials who were religious zealots, like Ronald Reagan, from including religion in their political philosophies.
The Christian religion poses a greater threat to America’s future than anything else imaginable. Since 9/11, the right-wing, in support of the Christian Religious Right, attempted to pose the religion of Islam as the greatest threat to the American people. Over time, this lie has been exposed. Domestic terrorists, most of whom claim to be Christians, have been confirmed as the greatest danger to the American people in the 21st century.
Finally, if you are a student of history, you are aware that the greatest atrocities committed against mankind were committed in the name of religion. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the inhumane actions by Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the atrocities in Northern Ireland all were based on efforts to control the minds and lives of non-believers.
Is it any surprise that the fastest growing religion in America is “none.”
Op-ed by James Turnage, Novelist
ACLU: YOUR RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
American Humanist Association: Religion and Government Separation