Modern Interpretation Of The First Amendment

1735 words - 7 pages

Modern Interpretation of The First Amendment

The first Amendment of the United States Constitution says; “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.”[1] Our fore fathers felt that this statement was plain enough for all to understand, however quite often the United States government deems it necessary to make laws to better define those rights that are stated in the Constitution. Today the framers would be both encouraged and discouraged by our modern interpretation the First Amendment the United States Constitution.

A great deal of bills have been written and passed as legislation under the pretense that they would better outline the citizen’ rights and ensure their freedoms. Yet occasionally these laws are created with disregard to what is stated in our Constitution. At times they distort and twist the original meaning of the work, counter acting the purpose of creating the Amendments. The intention of Amendments was to be an outline of the rights of the people. They were to ensure that there would not be a repeat of what the framers had experienced when they set out on their mission to draft a document that would govern our country for years to come. Little by little our elected officials have been discounting our Constitution. There are many resulting repercussions; the most dear to everyone being the individuals rights. The end result of these interpretations being that our people are hurt, as we are slowly being stripped of our rights as U.S. citizens.

There are two freedoms that seem to cause the most contention, the first being freedom of press and the second being the freedom of religion.

“ It remains to be noted that none of the great constitutional rights of conscience, however vital to a free society is absolute in character. Thus, while the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion goes a long way, it does not serve to protect acts judged to be morally licentious, such as poly amorous marriages. Children cannot be required to execute the flag salute which is forbidden by religious belief… Similarly freedom of speech, often defended by the courts, does not extend to the seditious utterance of a conspiracy which, is the considered opinion of congress, poses a clear present danger to the safety of the republic (Dennis v. United States, 1951) but the court has emphasized that the act of congress on the subject the Smith act does not forbid mere advocacy of abstract doctrine but only incitement to action designed to accomplish the illegal purpose of overthrowing the government (Yates v. United States, 1957). The state is not free to license the privilege of giving speech… yet it may punish for ‘fighting words’ which may lead to breaches of the peach (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire,...

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