How would you feel if you discovered that you had been lied to for most of your life?
Would you be mad?
Would you be furious?
Would you be upset?
Well, today I would like you to read something for yourself for the first time. I want you to keep an open mind and most importantly I do not want you to get too upset. For what I am about to show will go against what you have been taught all throughout your school experience.
What could this be?
What is so important that they could take it away from you in an instant yet you have not realized that you do not process it now?
A real riddle huh?
That is exactly what I felt when I stumbled across this earlier this year. After teaching high school for thirty-six years you would think that there are many things that would shock you but this did- all away to my inner core.
From the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute
The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.
But is this exactly what is written in the Constitution and guaranteed to us?
Before we go into this let us look at another source:
From the History.com website:
Freedom of religion is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits laws establishing a national religion or impeding the free exercise of religion for its citizens. While the First Amendment enforces the “separation of church and state” it doesn’t exclude religion from public life. From the colonial era to the present, religion has played a major role in politics in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court over the years has ruled inconsistently on matters of religious freedom, such as the display of religious symbols in government buildings.
You can easily add that all your life you have been told that you have been guaranteed Religious Freedom in the United States. Now, I would like for look for yourself at what the First Amendment says and then ask this question:
Does it really guarantee any individual’s religious freedom?
First Amendment Annotated
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.
Note these things about the Amendment
It is directed to Congress
It directs Congress not to pass a law but does not mention any other aspect or branch of government not to do the same
It does not mention these as individual rights of the people of the US
Therefore, these are at best conditional rights up to the whims of political leaders of our day or after 1803- the United States Supreme Court. If the Founding Fathers had wanted to they could have easily put in language to protect an individual’s rights in these matters. An amendment to direct Congress not to do something today is far from guaranteeing our religious rights for tomorrow.
Brothers and sisters, why is this important?
Besides being told a story for more than 200 years, the effects of the pandemic have created conditions in which this amendment has and will continue to be tested. We thought we had a right to free speech and free exercise of our religious beliefs but now we find that city or state candidates can easily curtail those rights. Poof, there goes our rights and right before our eyes. How did this happen? Well know you know- does it make you feel any better about the future?
We must get right with the Lord and right our nation before we can truly have our rights because if we do not we lose all of it. The choice is yours. Amen