The First Amendment to the United States Constitution 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.||”|
This is generally taken as a limitation on the power of the federal government with respect to:
The protection for free speech was largely motivated to safeguard the preaching of the Bible. Several passages in the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, support a right of free speech, including Numbers 11:26-30 (Moses allowed free speech by declaring, "If only all the people of the LORD were prophets!"); Mark 9:38-41 (admonition by Jesus not to stop strangers who cast out evil in his name).
|“||To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny. --- Ronald Reagan||”|
Liberals often focus on the "Establishment clause", arguing that because the federal government cannot endorse or establish a religion, the state must remain neutral, or even hostile towards religion. However, liberals often overlook the clause explicitly allowing for the free exercise of religion, also known as the Free Exercise Clause. Conservatives argue that this clause can be interpreted to allow much more leeway to the majority of religious Americans than liberals currently allow, and that it provides legislators with great flexibility in supporting the ends of Christian faith, as long as all other religious denominations are equally supported. The fact that Congress may pass no law establishing or respecting a particular Christian denomination provides the federal government with the freedom to support a variety of Judaeo-Christian ventures, notably the faith-based initiatives enacted under President Bush.
American liberals have attempted to use the so-called Fairness Doctrine and political correctness in order to silence conservative viewpoints and to promote divisive views. These ideologically-motivated attempts to limit free speech are in direct violation of the First Amendment, specifically, and, by extension, the entire U.S. Constitution.
- NAB version quoted above.
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America
Bill of Rights:
1 - Freedom of speech, press, etc.
2 - Right to bear arms
3 - Quartering of soldiers
4 - Warrants
5 - Due process
6 - Right to a speedy trial
7 - Right by trial of a jury
8 - No cruel or unusual punishments
9 - Unenumerated rights
10 - Power to the people and states
11 - Immunity of states to foreign suits
12 - Revision of presidential election procedures
13 - Abolition of slavery
14 - Citizenship
15 - Racial suffrage
16 - Federal income tax
17 - Direct election to the United States Senate
18 - Prohibition of alcohol
19 - Women's suffrage
20 - Terms of the presidency
21 - Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment
22 - Limits the president to two terms
23 - Electoral College
24 - Prohibition of poll taxes
25 - Presidential disabilities
26 - Voting age lowered to 18
27 - Variance of congressional compensation