Yesterday was First Amendment Day at UNC. I probably would not have known that it was yesterday if I wasn’t in the J-School – which is sad, really. The First Amendment is the most important part of the Bill of Rights. It guarantees all of the freedoms in which the country was founded on: freedom of expression. Without these words, America wouldn’t be one of the best countries on Earth:
“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.”
Shockingly, studies show only about 6% of Americans know what the amendment says. It’s somewhat comical that people plead free speech as their right when supporting something they are doing. They are correct, but “free speech” is not some umbrella term that incorporates all of the First Amendment.
There are really six parts of the amendment in which Congress shall make no law against.
- Freedom of religion.
- Freedom from religion.
- Freedom of non-obscene speech.
- Freedom of the press.
- Freedom of peaceful assembly.
- Freedom to petition the government.