Most Americans know the 1st amendment as the amendments in the bill of rights with clauses such freedom of speech, religion,
1st Amendment Law
Most Americans know the 1st amendment as the amendments in the bill of rights with clauses such freedom of speech, religion, and the press. The 1st amendments encourage one to believe and practice religious principles s/he wishes to do and his right to convey what s/he like. It protects lawyers’ right to publish any information he/she wishes, provide his/her service to anyone s/he wants and questions the government doings especially those that s/he do not like. Most clauses in the 1st amendment law are controversial, however, in many cases the uncertainty deals with how the amendment requires the Americans to go in a given direction.
The first is the establishment clause which forbids the government from creating state religion and from compelling citizens in what they should believe. However, the clause has some controversies. Some citizens consider that whenever there is state involvement, totally, all religious expression must be prohibited in order to fulfill the establishment clause (LII). For instance, a public school basketball team should be banned from praying at a basketball game because the institution is a government funded school. Others argue that the government should allow religious expression in public occasions and premises given the religious nature of Americans. Truly, in some people’s mind, prohibiting expressions of religious belief in this manner is an infringement of the free exercise clause that is part of the first amendment as it requests to control religious expression of Americans (Revolutionary War and Beyond).
The second clause is the free exercise that restricts the congress to regulate somebody’s religious observations. That is the congress cannot direct citizens on how they should practice their religious faith. However, controversy may arise whereby minority religious groups seek to exercise something that is not legal or that the government has a tough interest in regulating. For instance, such behaviors like ritual sacrifice, drug usage and polygamy are outlawed due to a public compelling interest. This signifies that this clause does not provide a free license to anyone to practice any behavior s/he claims is religious (LII).
The next is freedom of speech clause, which restricts the congress from reducing the freedom of speech. This allows Americans to express their concerns about state policies they do not like. It allows them to convey their religious faith. This clause is distorted especially where some citizens insult others they disagree with and using hateful languages. Freedom of speech goes beyond word people speak to expressions that are deployed in communicating ideas. Expressions such as wearing symbols, picketing and flag burning, are protected speech forms (Revolutionary War and Beyond).
Another significant principle is the freedom of the press clause and this clause is believed to have played a crucial role during the revolutionary war. It helped Americans strengthen their views against England and spread concept that justified a break with England. Historically, English had no press freedom at all. All publications were to be reviewed first by the state before publication. Government criticism were subjected to trials and charged with treason. Therefore, every American aspired to have the right to criticize their authority fearlessly as well as to debate other subjects whenever they wish (Revolutionary War and Beyond).
Lastly, is the freedom of assembly clause which goes “congress shall make no law… abridging … the right of the people peaceably to assemble…” this clause guards the rights of Americans to associate peacefully (LII). This right has proved to be significant, for instance, women minorities assembled and petitioned their argument to why women received no fair treatment as compared to their male counterpart (LII).
In conclusion, for Americans effectively enjoy their lives, then all the aforementioned clauses need to exist practically. However, the clauses are controversial forcing the government to protect some rights. This call for law specialists to assist interprets some contradicting clauses.
Legal Information Institute (LII). “First Amendment: An Overview.” 2010. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/first_amendment>
Revolutionary War and Beyond. “The 1st Amendment”. 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2012 <http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/1st-amendment.html>