The Bill Of Rights Essay

4028 words - 16 pages

Bill of RightsHow many rights do you have? You should check, because it might not be as many todayas it was a few years ago, or even a few months ago. Some people I talk to are notconcerned that police will execute a search warrant without knocking or that they set uproadblocks and stop and interrogate innocent citizens. They do not regard these as greatinfringements on their rights. But when you put current events together, there is informationthat may be surprising to people who have not yet been concerned: The amount of the Billof Rights that is under attack is alarming.Let's take a look at the Bill of Rights and see which aspects are being pushed on orthreatened. The point here is not the degree of each attack or its rightness or wrongness,but the sheer number of rights that are under attack.Amendment ICongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the freeexercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thepeople peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.ESTABLISHING RELIGION: While campaigning for his first term, George Bush said 'Idon't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be consideredpatriots.' Bush has not retracted, commented on, or clarified this statement, in spite ofrequests to do so. According to Bush, this is one nation under God. And apparently if youare not within Bush's religious beliefs, you are not a citizen. Federal, state, and localgovernments also promote a particular religion (or, occasionally, religions) by spendingpublic money on religious displays.FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION: Robert Newmeyer and Glenn Braunstein were jailedin 1988 for refusing to stand in respect for a judge. Braunstein says the tradition of rising incourt started decades ago when judges entered carrying Bibles. Since judges no longercarry Bibles, Braunstein says there is no reason to stand -- and his Bible tells him to honorno other God. For this religious practice, Newmeyer and Braunstein were jailed and arenow suing.FREE SPEECH: We find that technology has given the government an excuse to interferewith free speech. Claiming that radio frequencies are a limited resource, the governmenttells broadcasters what to say (such as news and public and local service programming) andwhat not to say (obscenity, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission[FCC]). The FCC is investigating Boston PBS station WGBH-TV for broadcastingphotographs from the Mapplethorpe exhibit.FREE SPEECH: There are also laws to limit political statements and contributions topolitical activities. In 1985, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce wanted to take out anadvertisement supporting a candidate in the state house of representatives. But a 1976Michigan law prohibits a corporation from using its general treasury funds to makeindependent expenditures in a political campaign. In March, the Supreme Court upheld thatlaw. According to...

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