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Getting to Know Our First Amendment

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

The First Amendment in our Constitution (USA) is also a part of our Bill of Rights.

Amendment I

"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."

Complimentary to our first amendment is our MI Constitution Article 1 sub. section 1-4.

Things to keep in mind regarding our Constitution. Our Constitution is a contract between We the People and our Government. This contract is created in the favor of We the People, on the opposite end of that, the contract puts strict limits on the Government. The contract even tells us it is our responsibility to hold our public officials accountable and how, when they breach the contract in Article 1 Section 6, Article 2 Section 4 and Article 3 Section 3 and the XIV (14th) Amendment. Then, there is the MI Constitution, U.S. Codes and Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) we can dig in to. For now, we will stick with the Constitution.

"We must also be careful to not separate the text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government." - James Madison

Key words to know:

Establishment - The recognition of a church by law as the official church of a nation or state and supported by civil authority. (Think: state sponsored churches in China, Vietnam, Japan, Russia.)

Religion - A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of superhuman entity or entities, usually involving systems of procedures and actions and often containing agreements as to what is right and wrong conduct.

Exercise - to put something into action or use.

Abridge - To reduce or lessen the duration, extent or range, authority, etc; to diminish.

Speech - Any declaration of thoughts, whether by words or other means.

Censorship - The suppression of all or a part of something considered offensive or unacceptable.

Freedom of the press - The right to publish and distribute broadly information, thoughts and opinions without restraint or censorship.

Petition - to ask some favor, right or other benefit from a person or group or persons in authority or power by submitting formal, written request, often containing the names of people making the request.