American Elephants


What Rights Does the First Amendment Protect? by The Elephant's Child

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According to Campus Reform, the Freedom Forum Institute’s annual “State of the First Amendment” survey has found that while 74 percent of Americans say they support the First Amendment, nearly half could not identify a single one of the rights that it protects.

Meanwhile, roughly half of those surveyed said public universities should be able to disinvite “controversial” speakers, such as those who are likely to provoke protests or cause offense to certain groups or individuals.

According to the report, 56 percent of respondents recalled that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, 15 percent mentioned freedom of religion, 13 percent remembered freedom of the press, 12 percent noted the right to assembly, and just 2 percent cited the right to petition.

Meanwhile, nine percent erroneously asserted that the First Amendment protects the right to bear arms, a freedom that is actually guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

In the interests of making sure you all have the facts and if you have kids, making sure they do too, Here is the First Amendment:

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 amendment is about what the government may not do, not about what you may or may not do. Doesn’t mean that people cannot insult you or criticize what you say or cast aspersions on your religion. It’s there to protect you from an overreaching government.  Though if the country gets so far gone that Congress is completely ignoring the Constitution, all bets are off.

You might try to memorize it, and have your kids memorize it. It is our greatest protection from tyranny and as long as people know what it says and what it is about, we’ll probably be all right. But the numbers of people without a clue is discouraging.

If you are interested, you can get nice little bound copies of the Constitution, about 3½” x 5″, from the Cato Institute by calling 800-767-1241 (8:30am to 4;30 pm EST) They are inexpensive, but my copy is years old, and prices have probably gone up.  (It also includes the Declaration and a preface about the history)

Nice little gift for new grads or kids leaving for college. The way things are going they probably would not encounter it there.


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