Understanding the First Amendment of the Constitution

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The First Amendment of the Constitution is the cornerstone of American ideology. This important amendment is what originally made our country a heaven for every downtrodden citizen tired of being oppressed by their government. Thankfully, the world has evolved and most first world countries have adopted similar rights for their citizens. For Southern Californians, whose rights have been violated it’s important to find an experienced Orange County Criminal Attorney who will represent your best interests in court. The First Amendment has been subject to countless interpretations, but it is broken down to five key components: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition.

Religion

Freedom of religion is an important right for a country that is over 70% Christian. Americans have the right to practice any religion, or lack thereof, without government interference. Furthermore, the government shall not promote any religion over another. This has long been debated because Christianity is so ingrained in American institutions. We have religious markings and quotes on our currency, courtrooms, and government buildings.

Free Speech

Freedom of speech allows Americans to say, not say, and promote whatever they please. This allows citizens to speak out against the government without fear of reprisal. This also allows citizens to take part in silent protests that convey their displeasure with a social issue. Most notably in the news lately, is the president’s executive order that allows churches to donate to political organizations. This will inevitably lead to a constitutional lawsuit regarding the separation of church and state.

Freedom of Press

The freedom of press is an important right allows media outlets to honestly report on the government’s wrongdoings. We are free to give the citizens factually accurate news coverage that reflects the true state of affairs in the country. This freedom includes the right for organizations to operate media outlets that are biased to one party. In the age of technology, you can find any organization online that fits your ideology. This makes it that much more important to read news coverage from both sides of the debate, and not become stuck in the echo chamber that is social media.

Freedom of Assembly

The freedom to assemble is a crucial civil liberty that allows the people to unite together for the greater good. This right allows citizens to meet in groups and promote their ideology. Most importantly, it is the right for people to peacefully protest the government. Americans expressed this right in January, when roughly 3.6-4.6 million people took to the streets in support of women’s rights. About 1 percent of the U.S. population marched that day, making it the largest single day protest in American history.

Right to Petition

The First Amendment clearly states that the people have the right, “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This essentially means that citizens have the right to appeal to lawmakers with a petition that has garnered the signatures of the constituency they represent. This important aspect of our government allows average people to band together and force legislation that reflects the beliefs of the people, e.g., environmental issues.