Tom's Blog

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment or 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.

First I believe this means exactly what it says and no more.

It says that government should not pass a law to establish a state religion. In other words, the U.S. Government could not make the Southern Baptist Convention the official church of the United States. Other than that, government should stay out of it. Now I know our unelected courts have read much more than that into it. They are wrong very simply put.

It also says the government shouldn't prohibit the free exercise of a person's faith; whatever that faith should. If a judge would like to place the 10 commandments up in his court room; he should be allowed. Heck, if he wanted to put the Code of Hammurabi up it should be allowed. The State establishes nothing when a judge does that; the judge is expressing himself as that is his courtroom.

Yes, the judge is an official of the State; but, he is also an individual and his rights haven't suddenly been stripped from him because he dons a black robe. Our unelected courts have gone too far.

The freedom of the press is and should be inviolate; but remember, with this freedom comes responsibility. If and individual reporter writes an article and he begins to suffer the backlash from it; well, that is just part of having the freedom. Others have the exact same freedom to voice their displeasure with what you write.

Also remember, you aren't guaranteed an audience; just the right to speak your mind. If what you write doesn't attract a following it is a hint for you to examine what you are writing. You know, you could be wrong.

Now, if you break the law when you publish something; like publishing classified information obtained illegally, well you must be citizen enough to take the heat. If a source leaks the information by breaking an oath of non-disclosure, that source has to expect the consequences and reporters shouldn't whine about freedom of the press.

You have the freedom to publish whatever information you want; but, know the consequences going in. You must also get the story right.

I am going to stop there for now.


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