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Modern Interpretation of The First Amendment

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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 utteran...

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Through the years many changes have taken place, and technologies have been discovered, yet our Constitution remains. Some say that the Constitution was written for people hundreds of years ago, and in turn is out of step with the times. Yet its principals and guidelines have held thus far. The framers would be pleases that their great planning and thought have been implemented up until this point. However this does not compensate for the fact, that the we the people have empowered the government more so than our fore fathers had intended. Citizens were entrusted with the duty to oversee the government, yet so many times they are disinterested and only seem to have an opinion when the government’s implications affect them. As time has changed so has the American people, we often interpret our freedoms in a self serving manner, disregarding the good of the whole and also the good for the future. Thus there are no true flaws in the Constitution, it appears that the conflict emerges in the individual and their self, and poses question when we must decide when to compromise the morals that our Constitution was founded on, or when to stick to what we know is right and honest.
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