The First Amendment
Protection or Hypocrisy?
Question: Is the first amendment of the Constitution being equally applied to both religion and speech? If not, shouldn't it be? Let's take a closer look at this dilemma. The following is the text of the first amendment of the Constitution, read it carefully.
"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."
Some site the phrase "Separation of Church and State" as reason for banning any mention of God or display of religion from government and publicly owned property. They adamantly defend their right to freedom of speech while desperately trying to suppress our freedom of religion. Do you see the words "separation of church and state" anywhere in the first amendment? No, you don't. That's because those words don't exist anywhere in the constitution or any other legal government document. They were coined by politicians a century ago, arguing over the meaning of the first amendment, yet those very words are now being used as reason to omit any reference to God or religion from government or on public property. How many people do you know who have been fooled into thinking that there is something in our Constitution that specifies a “separation of church and state”? It’s a myth.
There are two points to be considered here. Since the first amendment protects the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech both in the same sentence, then it follows that if the amendment means a separation of church and state, then it must also mean a separation of speech and state. If this interpretation is to be made law by the Supreme Court, then a separation of speech and state must also be made law. Speech must not be allowed in government, by any government employee, or on any public land. All communication in government will have to be done in writing. Speech can not be allowed in the courts either, and lawyers and judges must remain silent. In schools, students will learn by teachers instructions written on the blackboard and from their books. Of course, this will also prohibit political speeches and addresses. Campaign speeches will be banned as well as press conferences by politicians, and news reporters will have to be sure they are not on government property before filing their field reports. Your company picnic in the public park is going to be remarkably quiet as will be the volleyball games on the beaches.
The other point is, if you accept the "separation of church and state" as it is being imposed on us, then it has to apply both ways. All references to government including laws and regulations must be ban from the church. With this complete separation, government influence may not in any way cross over onto church property or it's members. Politics and government issues may not be discussed in church, nor may any coin or currency be collected. If you are a member of a church, then you no longer have to pay taxes, obey any government laws, or acknowledge government in any way. If there is to be a complete separation, then it must work both ways or the law is unfair and unconstitutional as not applying equally to everyone.
Does this sound ridiculous? Perhaps, but then the current interpretations of the first amendment sound ridiculous and one sided to me. The exaggerated claims that the name of God or any display of religious support of the people who work in government supported jobs, or those who use "public property" represents a promotion of religion by government and would lead to a theocracy is ludicrous and absurd. I remind you that "public property" belongs to the people, not the government, a government who has no legal right to suppress our freedom of speech or religious expression. A government which enforces unconstitutional rulings made by judges with an agenda, will not be respected by the people with whom they disagree. Especially when eighty percent of the people disagree with the judges rulings. Those are our schools, our parks, our beaches. They do not belong to the government or the US Supreme Court, they belong to us, the people. If laws are made to satisfy only a few at the cost of the masses, then we no longer live in a democracy and all our freedoms and liberties are in jeopardy.
Early next year, the Federal Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether to uphold or overturn the District Court ruling banning the Pledge of Allegiance in schools because of the word "God" in the pledge. This lawsuit is the effort of one selfish and self righteous atheist who doesn't want his daughter to know about, or to believe in God, even though the child's mother and the 9 year old daughter disagree with him. I believe the lower court's ruling will be overturned and the Pledge will be preserved. We have to trust that the Supreme Court judges are wise enough to understand that the first amendment was placed into the Constitution to protect both our freedom of religion as well as our freedom of speech and in no way was ever intended to create a complete "separation of church and state". If that was what the founders of the Constitution intended, then that is what they would have written. If the court rules to uphold the District Court ruling, then they must also enforce a separation of speech and state as well as respect the sovereignty of churches and their members from government rule.