Presentation on theme: " Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Free Press, Assembly, and Petition."— Presentation transcript:
Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Free Press, Assembly, and Petition.
Freedom of Religion The First Amendment covers 5 parts and the first part is freedom of religion. The government can’t create a religion and force it upon all of the United States. The Freedom of Religion was ratified on September 25, 1789 and adopted on December 15, 1791. In 1878 the Reynolds trial was held. “A religious belief cannot be accepted as a justification for committing a blatant act”, stated the courts. Sense the prisoner new his wife was remarried in Utah it led to another trail for Reynolds. He believed it was a religious duty during this time especially because the Church preformed a pursuant which allowed marriage again. He was entitled to a non-guilty verdict because of his religious beliefs. In the 1960’s the Court had adopted a more extensive view of the Free Exercise Clause which lead to expanding its views today. It is a stated fact that since World War II more Jews lived in the United States than any other nation because of the U.S. open-mindedness. The United States has formed a large variety of religions. People in the United States can’t be persecuted for practicing a different religion than what someone else may believe.
Freedom of religion court cases In the United States Citizens have an unlimited right to their religious beliefs but are restricted on the practice of religion. For example; students have the right to practice their religion which is the free exercise claim. There comes restrictions to this clause, for example; it is enforced as long as it’s not interrupting the school day and is held before or after school. Even though the United States has became more open minded about religion it’s not as broad as it should be. Although it may be worse in other nations for example; persecuting, it still isn’t following the first amendment to the Full extent. During Thanksgiving week six Imams were forbidden on a U.S. Airway. The Muslim religious prayer leaders were questioned for five hours straight when they were finally found innocent. Although the United States has a wide range of different religions they refused to allow them on that flight. The suspicion was all because they prayed in public, so how free are we?
Freedom of Speech Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak without censorship or limitation. Just like any other part of the first amendment it has its limitations. For instance hate speech is restricted because it can cause violence. Hate speech is any speech, gesture, or display used upon gender, race, or religion. Some countries take it more serious than others. Certain countries will impose under the civil law. Our speech as Americans is restricted to a certain extent. For example; school newspapers are censored by the administration. A student can’t write about anything they want because of sexual material or political views that would be offensive to others.
Free speech court cases In 1969 Tinker Verse Des Moines occurred. This is something that still affects us today. A group of people decided to wear armbands to support for a truce in the war with Hitler. The principle of Des Moines became aware of what was going to occur. The principle stated that any person wearing an armband at school would have to remove it or was threatened with suspension. This case was taken to the United States District Court. The first hearing was dismissed, which is against the students first amendment rights. According to the first amendment as long as it isn’t interrupting the school day disciplinary actions couldn’t be taken on students. The case was appealed and divided. The district court was aware that wearing armbands was expressing their views on the war in a peaceful manner. When students are restricted it takes away the students freedom to express themselves. Another example of our restrictions as students is the 1983 Hazelwood case. One of the articles was divorces and the effect it has on teenagers then other shocking one was teen pregnancies. The pregnancies had featured certain students in the school but anonymously. The paper had to be given to the principle for revision before it could be published to the whole school. Without even informing the students, the news articles were taken out. The principle used the excuse it was “offensive and inappropriate.” In court the principle stated he didn’t like how the divorce article referred to the father being gone all the time. Yet isn’t it just stating the truth? Informing students is important and may give them a better way of handling things. The Court decided students should have the final say in the content of the paper, shouldn’t be given to administration before, and public open forums which aren’t followed today in most schools.
Freedom of Press Freedom of Press helps sustain a healthy democracy. It is stated that only 17% of the world’s citizens live in a country that enjoys the free press. The other 83% have government control the viewpoints that go out to the citizens. An independent citizen voice is rarely heard anymore for certain “sensitive subjects” such as teen pregnancy in a school newspaper. Recently, it seems the media has began to be controlled by five main sources. Five publishers who overpower the others control the printing media; another top five for movie companies produce all the movies; and three people control the radio and television. Although the first amendment grants us the freedom of press, it still isn’t in our hands fully. It is controlled by the government and the top five people above.
Near V. Minnesota was a newspaper that was criticizing officials in Minnesota. To protect the local officials a state law was made which allowed the authorities to stop any scandalous or harmful information couldn’t be published against their will. Argument one was that the court should rule in favor of the newspaper. It isn’t fair certain information has to be withheld, if a story is false a libel suit can be filed against the paper. Which is why any information should be able to be published because citizens deserve to be informed. Any false information would be used against the paper, their would be no harm towards officials or others because only the truth could be published. Argument two for the court case was to rule for the State of Minnesota. It stated newspapers shouldn’t have the freedom to publish information about officials that is false. Many people believe whatever goes to the press, if information was false it could damage reputations of government and local officials. Both arguments have valid points, no false information should be given out to citizens because it can start numerous amounts of problems. On the other hand no false information could be used against officials and if were to happen would be taken to court. The public deserves to be informed, argument two is only used as an excuse to censor certain subjects and not let it be published to the public eye.
The freedom to assemble is the right for people to gather together without fear that the government will harass them or disturb their peace. This part of the first amendment also ties back to freedom of speech, religion, and petition. Freedom to assemble is another way people express their beliefs. Even if every individual may not agree people still can gather with others whose have the same viewpoints. On the other hand, the government sees some gatherings as dangerous or inappropriate. Certain strikes can be called “dangerous” as an excuse to stop them if the government doesn’t want it getting out to the public that people are disagreeing with them. If there wasn’t freedom to assemble many people with religious beliefs wouldn’t have the freedom to worship without harassment or other problems such other countries have. For example; in other countries if people are found worshiping another religion they can be tortured or beheaded.
In the Edwards V. South Carolina case in 1963 an 8 to 1 decision was made in the court, 180 African American students were stopped for gathering peacefully together. They marched to the state capital protesting against discrimination. Police officers used the excuse that this would cause a riot if it continued. The court followed the state law that it was unconstitutional to stop the gathering because it punished the students for exercising their freedom of speech by gathering together ( the right to assemble). Although people may gather together and the government may not agree doesn’t give them the right to stop a peaceful gathering, that’s restricting Americans rights to assemble freely.
In 1215 people wanted the right to petition their government, giving them the chance to address the issues they had. People lived in fear if they petitioned to the government they would be beaten or thrown in jail. The right to petition includes things such as sign petitions, picket, and any other type of communication that would get a message across to the American government. The freedom of petitioning played such a huge role on the civil rights for African Americans. Their comes restrictions just like the other five parts of the first amendment. In order to petition the government a person has to prove there is a legal reason for this and why they are petitioning against the government.
In 1947 the Everson V. Board of Education was held. New Jersey’s reimbursement to parents of private schools. Sense the money costs were being used for the church and going to the children it was questioned. Cases such as this can be perused in court. In other cases, their may not be enough probable cause to take it any further. Recently in 2004, Elk Grove Unified School District V. New dow was held. A father channeled the constitutionally of requiring public school teachers to lead the pledge of Allegiance to other people’s children. The Pledge of Allegiance contained the phrase, “under God”. This phrase has been in there since 1954 and now is being challenged. The court decided he didn’t have the right petition to bring the case to court. Therefore, he had the right to bring it to court but still could be denied as it was sense their wasn‘t enough of a case according to the court‘s eyes.
Students should be more educated with their First Amendment rights. The court cases give good examples of how people are limited to their First Amendment rights although they shouldn't be. If more people were aware of their rights they may fight for them more and stand up for the things they believe in. Many people don't participate as adults because they aren't educated enough as young adolescences nor are given the opportunity to use their First Amendment rights to their full ability.