The First Amendment
The first ten Amendments in The US Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They list specific restrictions on the government so there is no ambiguity should abusive leaders try to create their own list of human rights. If there is any reason to know and understand these rights it is now, because what we are witnessing in our country today is seeing the Constitution and these Amendments being put in jeopardy.
The First Amendment lists four basic rights which the government are prohibited to harm or diminish.
1) Religion. The Framers worried that Congress would force a national religion on the people or prevent them from freely practicing their religion of choice. In many countries’ religion is a staple to their culture and their beliefs. On the other hand, in countries such as China, there are currently religious persecutions of Christians, Muslim Uyghurs, and Falun Gong parishioners.
2) Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press. This allows one to express his or her own beliefs and to have the ability to debate topics. However, there must remain reasonable restrictions to help prevent libel, slander, and inciting riots. The Framers wanted the states to set those regulations. We are currently witnessing censorship on Social Media Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
3) Right to Peaceably Assemble. When the Bill of Rights was written a major complaint against King George III was that his guards stopped or arrested people who gathered in groups, large or small, to talk. The Framers wanted to disallow such harassment, they wanted to have a means to express beliefs and injustices that may occur in society, but they must do so in a manner that is peaceful and does no harm to other’s wellbeing or their property.
4) Petition the Government. The people have the right to challenge and confront the government without interference by the authorities.
The First Amendment reads in its’ entirety as follows:
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.