Big Liberty Agenda. What Has Been Lost? The 1st and 2nd Amendments.on July 19th, 2010 at 2:49 am
A liberal friend of mine, asked me, with a straight face the other day, “Why are you so worried about the Constitution? What rights have you lost? This got me thinking, as many people who aren’t plugged into the news might not see an erosion of freedom.
While the loss of freedoms has been happening over the past century, the Obama Administration’s has accelerated the process to a point where more people are becoming concerned.
Yet many of these lost freedoms only impact a small percentage of individuals. Those that are distracted by the latest reality TV shows and celebrity gossip, have no idea anything is amiss.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the Constitutional rights that are endangered by our out of control Federal Government. Let’s start with the 1st Amendment.
“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.”
Let’s take it piece by piece…Today we’ll look at freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
This is the first Constitutional error many make as most in the mainstream always discuss the separation of church and state, as if those words appear in the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson penned those words in a letter.
The main thrust of this was to avoid a state sponsored religious organization like the Church of England. Not only was the state church a danger to the free expression of religion, at the time it was an exceedingly corrupt arm of the British monarch. The founders had no intention of banning religious practice from the public arena, only to ensure the government did not create a state sponsored and funded church.
Federal and state courts have used the wall metaphor repeatedly and incorrectly to infringe on the basic right of religious expression.
- Censor private religious expression (such as Christmas displays) in public areas
- Removing religious symbols (such as crosses) from government land/buildings
- Denying education vouchers for church sponsored school
- Denying faith-based social welfare agencies the same rights as their secular counterparts.
The whitewashing of religion from public life offends the basic rights of religious exercise, expression, and association. This has been happening for years prior to the Obama Administration.
Obama has taken this to a different level, which now threatens the very basis of our cherished religious freedoms.
One subtle, but telling change is the constant use of the phrase Freedom of Worship instead of Freedom of Religion. The difference is subtle but critical. Freedom of Worship specifically speaks to what you do within the walls of a church. Freedom of Religion speaks to the free exercise of those religious beliefs. So worshiping your church is fine, but outside of those walls, there is no guarantee of he right to freely express your beliefs.
Right now the bans are on roadside crosses, the wearing of t-shirts at schools, etc.
Taken to extremes, this could mean banning of evangelical missions, destruction of church schools and initiatives and the right to express religious beliefs that fly in the face of political correctness. For example, the new hate crimes legislation could make religious speech, critical of homosexuality, a hate crime.
The stage is set, for the Federal Government to severely limit expressions of religious freedoms based on a non-existent separation of church and state.
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.”
There have always been challenges to this very simple language. The rights of privacy and public safety have created a push pull for this basic right.
In 2003, the one of the biggest infringements of this basic right was enacted and held up by the Supreme Court…The McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance bill, which in part, placed strict limits on when groups could run TV ads during a campaign.
The justices and many liberal groups hold that large corporations will have undue influence on elections and this compelled the law. As Judge Scalia said at the time this bill was originally upheld, “it was a sad day for freedom of speech.
Subsequent rulings have effectively overturned this abomination. But Congress will soon pass the DISCLOSE act, which will place even tougher restrictions on campaign related speech.
Those on the left (in both political parties) maintain that this is necessary to keep evil big business out of politics. Yet, the judges, legislators and supporters of this miss a simple point.
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” People and groups with the means to advertise on TV should not be denied that right simply because of the proximity to an election. Whether the ads are sponsored by George Soros or Rush Limbaugh, the basic simple and clean language of the 1st Amendment should always prevail.
In addition, there are repeated attempts, in the name of political correctness, to have certain words, banned as hate speech. Efforts abound to effectively censor voices through ideas like the Fairness Doctrine and Internet regulations on websites. Numerous other examples abound.
The simple fact is that the founder’s language is clear and should be understood by any reasonable person. We should not make any laws infringing on these rights. Period.
Yet these rights have been under assault, by both political parties, for years.
The momentum is building to further restrict speech and religious expression as these freedoms are an impediment to the goal of rigid state control that progressives have pursued for years. With the current Administration they are working hard to make this scary vision a reality. Opinions that differ from their dogmatic belief system could be the next target of additional initiatives and legislation.
“Congress shall make no law respecting…of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
These freedoms are under assault, not only by a government that is actively looking into
- Implementing net neutrality
- The Fairness Doctrine
- Prosecuting/harassing media members that have the temerity to challenge the regime.
- The Administration attempted to cut Fox News out of media coverage and regularly derides the network.
- There is this little known case where a local journalist is being prosecuted by the Federal Government for exposing a government housing scam. The journalist refuses to reveal his sources so he is being prosecuted to “protect life and property.”
In some ways, the media has voluntarily become a pawn of the government. Stories like the refusal to allow an audit of the Federal Reserve, Van Jones, the ACORN scandal, the DOJ’s unconscionable decision to drop the the Black Panther voter intimidation case, and climategate are just a few of the major stories that the Main Stream Media has chosen to ignore over the past 2 years.
Whether it is by choice or convenience the 4th Estate has often willfully ignored stories that would embarrass the administration. GE owns NBC. GE stands to make billions of dollars based on Green Energy and other Obama Administration initiatives. It sure wouldn’t be a stretch to see that critical stories about the administration would not be prudent for any of the NBC networks to cover. One wonders, if there are similar reasons that keep the other major networks and papers from covering key stories.
Our first amendment rights are under particular assault right now. What can we say about the 2nd Amendment that hasn’t been said already?
Major cities have effectively banned the ownership of guns by law abiding citizens. Every year, liberal legislators rush to past more and more restrictive gun laws. This year, a law was struck down by the Supreme Court that would have effectively gutted the 2nd Amendment. But the scary part was the vote was 5-4….and the minority decision vigorously defended the governments rights to effectively ban firearm ownership. We teeter on the brink of the 2nd Amendment being effectively stricken from the Constitution.
Next time, we’ll touch on the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Constitution….as we explore the freedoms that have been lost…or about to be lost,
This is just one of many reasons why the Roanoke Tea Party is at the forefront of the 21st century Civil Rights Movement. This is a movement to ensure these basic rights to all people. Be the resistance and Join Us in the Civil Rights movement.