"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Ecclesiastes 10:2
An excellent article. Please read the full, original: here
BillOfRightsThe Constitution of the United States, which includes the Bill of Rights, is one of the most abused documents in American history. It was designed to provide a solid foundation for liberty by limiting the size and scope of the federal government in a way that has never been seen in the history of mankind, but it is the Bill of Rights which makes it especially unique. Contrary to what many may think, the Bill of Rights “is not a declaration of rights at all. It is a declaration of prohibitions against the federal government,” setting clear boundaries that were not to be crossed (Skousen 674). However, as you will see, these delineations have been sullied. The following essay presents each amendment in the Bill of Rights, provides a summary of each amendment, and shows how they have been violated by the federal government.
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.”
Summary of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”: Congress cannot legally show favoritism toward one religion over another and cannot prohibit anyone or any group of people from freely practicing their faith.
Examples of how the Founders’ original intention of this provision has been violated by the federal government:
1. “In the case of Gitlow v. New York , the Supreme Court used certain provisions in the federal Bill of Rights and applied them to the states. The court justified this action on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that ‘no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ The opponents of traditional theistic religion and morality saw the Gitlow case as an opportunity to invoke the power of the federal courts to build a wall between each of the states and any form of religious encouragement, even though it was provided indirectly. In other words they would reverse the Founders’ original policy” (Skousen 685). The first provision of the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from interfering in religious matters, leaving this jurisdiction to the states; yet, in the case, the Supreme Court violated this prohibition.
2. “The case of Cantwell v. Connecticut  was the first ruling of the Supreme Court in which the “Gitlow doctrine” was applied to religious liberty…” (Skousen 685), followed by McCollum v. Board of Education  where the Supreme Court “…used the Gitlow doctrine to tell a state board of education that it would not allow children, even with their parents’ consent, to take religion classes in school” (Skousen 686).
3. “…Everson v. Board of Education  was the first time the Supreme Court applied the ‘due process’ clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to make the federal wall of separation apply to religious matters among the individual states. What this amounted to was the actual breaking down of the federal wall set up by the First Amendment so that the Supreme Court actually usurped jurisdiction over religious matters in the states and began dictating what the states could or could not do with reference to religious questions” (Skousen 685). Moreover, in this case, “…the Supreme Court made it clear that neither the federal government nor the state government could encourage religion in any way. Justice Hugo L. Black spoke for the court and declared in his opinion, ‘Neither a State nor the Federal government…can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. The Founders would have heartily endorsed Justice Black’s ‘no preference’ doctrine, but they would, no doubt, have objected vigorously to outlawing indirect aid for, and encouragement to, ‘all religions’…it was ‘all religions’ the Founders had said they were relying upon to undergird society with those moral teachings which are ‘necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind. No doubt they would have further objected to the court’s presumptive usurpation in taking jurisdiction over a religious question, which had been specifically reserved, by the First and Tenth Amendments, to the states themselves” (Skousen 686). “Without a doubt, there has been a severe wrenching of the Constitution from its original First Amendment moorings ever since this new trend began,” starting with the Gitlow case (Skousen 685).