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THE ACLU’s IGNORANCE OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

 

 

Copyright October 2, 2008 4:00 AM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti

 

Updated November 16, 2008 7:13 AM CST

Copyright November 16, 2008 7:13 AM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti

 

 

 

Page Index

The Meaning of Religion

The Precise Meaning of the First Amendment

Prayer in Government Meetings and in Schools

Specific STYLE AND MANNER in Government Meetings and in Schools

First Amendment Fears

 

 

 

 

The Meaning of Religion

 

 

Here is the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America:

 

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.

 

The ACLU does not know the history of the First Amendment, or the entire Constitution for that matter.  When the founding fathers wrote this amendment, they were using the word “religion” in the way it was used in their time.  Religion was not:

 

The worship of God.

                                                                                                                            

Religion was:

 

The worship of God according to some set of rules and regulations.

 

In other words, the First Amendment:

 

Does NOT prohibit the worship of God in the government arena.

 

Rather, it prohibits:

 

FORCING anyone to adopt a SPECIFIC STYLE AND MANNER of worshipping God in the government arena.

(Do not give up your rights!  Read the section below titled “Specific STYLE AND MANNER in Government Meetings and in Schools.”)

 

So, our praying marines below were NOT violating the Constitution.  Note that the marines were not commanded to pray and not commanded to bow their heads.  Their praying and bowing their heads was heartfelt and voluntary.  As confirmation of the voluntary nature of their prayer and/or of the FREELY CHOSEN STYLE AND MANNER of their prayer, note the five marines who did not bow their heads and the three marines who bowed their heads part way.

 

 

Here is an enhanced version of the photograph above, along with clear identification of marines who did not bow their heads (which is their right) or bowed their heads part way (which is their right).

 

 

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The Precise Meaning of the First Amendment

 

 

Furthermore, let us look at the precise meaning of the First Amendment with regard to religion:

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….

 

First:

 

Congress shall make no law….

 

The government is not to pass any laws with regard to religion.  This means no law that says you must have a religion and no law that says you must not have a religion.  It also means no law that says you must follow a specific religion and no law that says you must not follow a specific religion.

 

Note:

 

…no law respecting an establishment of religion….

 

The government is to pass no law that would require people to follow one or more specific religions.

 

…no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof….

 

The government is to pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion; that is, the government is to pass no law prohibiting the free pursuit of religion.

 

Now, note:

 

…no law…prohibiting…free exercise….

 

The government is to be guided in its future decisions by the principle that “the pursuit of religion is something that is freely done.”  In other words:

 

The government is not to force people to be religious, while at the same time it is not to force people to not be religious.

 

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Prayer in Government Meetings and in Schools

 

Does the First Amendment require that there be no prayer in government meetings and in schools?  No.  It simply requires that:

 

No one be FORCED to pray in government meetings and in schools.

 

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Specific STYLE AND MANNER in Government Meetings and in Schools

 

Does the First Amendment require that there be no specific STYLE AND MANNER of religion in government meetings and in schools?  No.  It simply requires that:

 

No one be FORCED to follow a specific STYLE AND MANNER of religion in government meetings and in schools.

 

This means that, while no one can be FORCED to read the Bible in government meetings and in schools:

 

One is FREE to read the Bible in government meetings and in schools.

 

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First Amendment Fears

 

There are some who fear that evil will follow adherence to the First Amendment.  Specifically:

 

They fear that the Bible will be replaced with the Muslim’s Koran.

 

This is something to be afraid of.  However, this fear is not to be overcome by rejecting the First Amendment but by educating people in:

 

The Superiority Of The Bible Over The Muslim’s Koran

and

What Muslim’s Don’t Want You To Know

 

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