AP Government and Politics
September 9, 2014
U.S. Constitution, Civil Liberties, & Civil Rights
The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states, “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.” (Bill Of Rights Institute). The first amendment gives citizens the protection of free speech, press, and protest, but the protection of religion is the most important of the Bill of Rights. This protection sets the United States apart from other countries; America was founded on the idea of freedom. Today, many social issues threaten the protection of the First Amendment.
Under the First Amendment, citizens have the ability to practice whatever religion they please. No citizen can be forced to do something that violates his or her religious views, so the First Amendment protects all those who strongly believe in any religion. No religion is considered more important than another, and no one can be discriminated against based on that religion, meaning that even private businesses can make decisions based on their religious views without punishment. The religious freedom and toleration created by the First Amendment should be considered in laws, social issues, and government actions.
Threatening the First Amendment, private Catholic adoption and foster services in Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the State of Illinois have been put out of business, “by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both, because those charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.” (usccb). The government needs to protect the rights of private businesses to express their religious views. The First Amendment...
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