Posts tagged First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on evidence for humanity’s oldest forms of religion. In my view, many aspects of issues we face today can be illuminated by thinking about their history, and much of that history is religious in nature. That article didn’t generate many comments, but those it did convinced me this is a topic many of our readers would like to think more about. This, then, is the second in what might become a continuing series on Old Time Religion.
The separation of Church and State is one of America’s most cherished freedoms. The right to worship as we choose — or to not worship at all — without the imposition of an official national religion is the very first right listed in the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Yet, in an apparent contradiction, religion has never been absent from our politics or our public discourse, and attempts to banish it completely have always failed. We want to worship as we choose; we do not want religion to be imposed; yet we want our elected officials to be religious, and many of our most important historical controversies (abolition, prohibition, civil rights, support of or opposition to various wars, and so on) have often been couched in religious terms.
The relationship between faith and society is complex, particularly in western culture. The reasons for this complexity lie rooted in European history over the last two millennia. Examining a part of that history can help us understand why it is so hard to banish religious ideas and religious motivations from our politics and our government. It may indeed be impossible to do so. We may not want to do it even if we could. (more…)
It’s like something out of a Hitchcock movie.
Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments in a case which pits Secret Service agents (Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle, Dan Doyle, and colleagues) against Steven Howards, a resident of Golden, Colorado. The issue is whether Howards can sue the Secret Service agents for retaliatory arrest, in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.
How did Mr. Howards come to be arrested by the Secret Service? (more…)
Does the Constitution permit criminalizing liars? Not perjury, mind you, just lying to someone in a more casual environment? Or, perhaps, lying while on the campaign trail?
That’s the topic being addressed today in the Supreme Court.
In 2007, Xavier Alvarez ran for a seat on the (Claremont, California) Three Valleys Municipal Water District’s board of directors. While campaigning, he described himself as a retired Marine who received the Medal of Honor in 1987 for his efforts during the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Iran in 1979, during which he personally rescued the U.S. Ambassador.
As you can see from his photo at right, Xavier Alvarez clearly was a highly decorated soldier.
He told many people of his survival of three helicopter crashes and 15 gunshots during his military career.
The trouble is, all of those statements are false. (more…)
The Supreme Court has just released its ruling, on an 8–1 vote (Justice Alito dissenting) in Albert Snyder v. Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church et al. The court finds that Westboro Baptist Church has a First Amendment right to picket military funerals.