The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference into public affairs. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Court has interpreted the First Amendment to apply to the entire federal government even though it's only supposed to be applied to the Congress. The First Amendment was written because at America's beginning, citizens ordered to have a guarantee of their basic freedoms. Without the First Amendment, religious minorities could be persecuted, the government might well establish a national religion, protesters could be silenced, the press could not criticize government, and citizens couldn't assemble for social change.
Most people believe in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should cover flag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising, hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various forms of symbolic speech; though many would agree to limiting some forms of free expression. A Phrase that is often used to describe expression that is combined with elements of conduct is "Symbolic Expression". The Supreme Court has dealt with a series of cases and has made it clear that symbolic expression or expressive conduct may be protected by the First Amendment.
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