The First Amendment to The Constitution of The United States says, ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
There seems to be some misconceptions about what The First Amendment actually means and it is being interpreted in various and sundry ways by all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.
It looks to me like there are some people out there who have an agenda to actually re-write the Founding Documents for their own purposes–whatever those might be.
If one studies the Constitution and if one goes to some authoritative source (Not a source that has fallen under the ax of some Radical Conservative Revisionist), it becomes clear that this amendment is not a free license for doing whatever comes to mind in the name of religious freedom– as some would have us believe.
If I were to listen to some of the arguments being proposed by some of the Constitutional Crazies that I have encountered from time to time, I might get the notion in my head that this amendment means that I can run around the woodlands, stark naked and practice cannibalism in the name of Freedom of Religion.
But I am fairly certain that the First Amendment does not mean that we are free to do whatever we choose to do in the name of Freedom of Religion. That kind of an argument is just plain fruitcake nuts, but there are some out there who believe and preach exactly that kind of nonsense.
These misinterpretations of what The Constitution actually says are why we have such enlightened resources as constitutional lawyers and The Supreme Court.
If some of the idiots out there who wave flags and ramble on and on about “Reclaiming our basic freedoms” or some of the others who run about like chickens without heads, spouting all their paranoid little fears about how the government is making slaves of us all had their wits about them, they would understand just how complex a document The Constitution is and that, if we are to have a government at all, the document needs interpretation by rational beings and not simply emotional ones.
The Constitution is, by no means, a free license to practice licentiousness or any other socially unacceptable activity under the guise or pretense of religious belief.
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that as Americans (And as Human Beings for that matter) we are endowed by our Creator with free will and that, according to the intent of the Founding Fathers, we are all intended to be truly free individuals. But I also think that those freedoms are curtailed, somewhat, by a generally-accepted sense of decorum that has been agreed upon by the majority of Americans.
In other words, I believe there are limits on “Freedom” and I think there has to be such limits for the sake of the nation and the safety of the citizens. These “Limitations” on Freedom (Moderating Factors) come to us in the form of something called “The Law Of The Land.”
In my view, Laws do not restrict our freedoms; Laws protect and perpetuate our freedoms.
I think this is a little different from what some of the fanatics on the darker side of Radical Conservatism are trying to get across with their rhetoric about corruption in high places and their often seeming frenetic push to get the Constitution “Interpreted” in ways that better reflect the wishes of The Founding Fathers.
Some of these folks who would revise the Constitution to fit their narrow-minded little vision of what Freedom is like or what America should be seem to think that our duly-elected Representatives have no authority to make decisions for us as Free Citizens and I believe with my whole heart and soul that this is what some of these revisionists want us to believe.
That argument is full of holes from it’s inception because it is for the very purpose of granting authority to someone to make decisions on our behalf that we take the time and effort to elect our politicians in the first place. That is the job of the elected Representatives.
If, for some reason, the elected officials do not understand or don’t want to believe some element of Constitutional Law, then it is up to the voters to elect someone else the next time around– or to invoke the impeachment process if necessary.
I have been a citizen of The United States from birth and I have yet to believe that someone “Up There” somewhere is trampling on my Constitutional Freedoms. I, personally, feel as free as a bird and I am most happy with America, Her Citizens, The Constitution, Our Form of Government and life in general as an American. None of this paranoid claptrap that I have been reading about– the inane and empty-headed rhetoric about how America is going to the dogs affects me in the least as an individual.
My Rights are all intact and I don’t feel like I am being followed by Men In Black driving dark vans. No one stops me on the street and asks for my papers and I can still drive across state lines without producing a visa.
I pay my taxes, read my newspaper, eat my three meals a day, play with my pet birds, work on my blog and I don’t worry that some government agent is going to knock on my door and ransack my house in the name of national security or some other pretext.
I am at a loss to understand where the Right Wing Extremest nut bags are getting all their crazy notions about how bad things are in America.
I have never seen evidence that a President has ever tried to dictate which of our beliefs or principles we are free to exercise.
What I will admit to seeing (And, like everything else I write, this is my personal opinion) is a very small but very vocal group of know-nothing Right Wing Radicals who have become extremely paranoid for some reason about the government and who are saying a lot of crazy, off-the-wall stuff intended to incite others to follow in the footsteps of their frenzied folly.
That is their right as Americans, of course, but it is useless, accomplishes nothing, is entertaining to a point and illuminates the reasons that I remain firmly committed to the rationality of Liberal, Democrat and Progressive politics.
Posted by John Liming strictly as his political opinions.