Does The First Amendment Really Protect Speech & Religion?

Does The First Amendment Really Protect Speech & Religion?


The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
might be the most frequently debated amendment in US history. Although it is regularly used
as shorthand to talk about freedom of speech, it also includes a number of other important
clauses, without which the US would be unrecognizable. So, what exactly is in the First Amendment? Well, most importantly, and perhaps the source
of so much misunderstanding, is that the Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law.”
Many people gloss over this part. They believe that the First Amendment personally guarantees
THEM an inalienable right to speech, press, religion, and so on. But all it really covers
is what Congress is not allowed to restrict through specific laws. Now, surprisingly, the First Amendment is
only 45 words long. It opens with, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is called the Establishment
Clause. It means that Congress cannot favor a particular religion through legislature,
nor can it legislate against the practice of a particular religion. This clause has
been used to stop state-sanctioned prayer in public schools, as well as to remove several
displays of the Ten Commandments in front of courthouses. It is also the basis of what
is referred to as the separation between church and state. Next is the freedom of speech. Often it is
used to justify a person’s supposed right to publicly state anything they want, however,
this is very far from the truth. There are a lot of situations where speech is extremely
limited, and it is completely legal. For example, being blocked for spamming on the internet
is not a violation of free speech, because private individuals can dictate whatever rules
they’d like in regards to speech limitations. Additionally, the Supreme Court has ruled
that there are a number of exceptions to free speech. When it comes to provocation, lying,
obscenity, child pornography, threats, and copyrighted material, there are strict rules. Freedom of press is similar, but better understood.
It prohibits Congress from interfering with the publication of information. It applies
not only to professional journalists, but regular citizens too. This is especially relevant
now that anybody can blog or tweet to a wide audience. However, if the press is defamatory
and damaging, there are still certain limitations. The scope of what is “defamatory” has
long been debated. Then there is the right of the people to peaceably
assemble. But again, this prevents Congress from passing a specific law prohibiting peaceful
demonstrations. If a demonstration is in violation of another law, for example if it endangers
public safety, then there is nothing illegal about it being dispersed, or people being
arrested. Finally, the First Amendment allows for people
to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This clause is almost totally
unknown, but it allows citizens to do things like file lawsuits against the government,
or lobby public officials. It protects citizens from prosecution if they complain or try to
address their problems through government channels. And, that’s it. The First Amendment isn’t
very long, but it covers a huge number of rights. If you’ve ever had questions about legal
rights in the U.S. — like “can you legally film the police?” You might want to watch this next video. Thanks for watching
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100 Replies to “Does The First Amendment Really Protect Speech & Religion?”

  1. TestTube, make a video titled: "What Does The Youtube Comment System Really Do?" All I see are fights and propaganda.

  2. 1:00 Many states though still discriminate against atheists, which is religious discrimination yet no one bats an eye – "BUT HOW DARE THEY QUESTION GAWD ?!!"

  3. most of these people want freedom from free speech… yet if you say something bad about religion or conservatives then its all ok say what you want… pfft, people are so hypocritical.

  4. 1:23: For example, being blocked for spamming on the Internet is not a violation of free speech because private individuals can dictate whatever rules they'd like in regards to speech limitations.

    That's where it's at, folks. 😉

  5. While it is true that the first amendment doesn't stop private restrictions of speech, I would say that the first amendment contributed to a sort of culture of free speech which is almost as important as the amendment itsself.

    True, YouTube can ban any comments they want legally, but in today's world where we're connected using things run by private organizations if we need a culture of people who, rightly or wrongly, get upset when their speech is restricted on these mediums.

    I would go further to argue that this cultural thought that free speech should apply almost anywhere is what keeps the first amendment from being amended or ignored. By being so passionate about what it represents, we don't lose it like we did with the less well known amendments, like the 9th or 10th

  6. The constitutional right to religion is limited to what you believe and equal protection. In almost all cases, Rastafarians can not legally buy or sell or smoke pot even though this is in line with their religious practice. Christians cannot murder a neighbor for working on the sabbath, or deny an inter racial couple marry license, the right to believe in bullshit and openly express it, is different from enforcing those dogmas on innocent others.

  7. the establishment clause is "respecting an establishment of religion,".
    The next clause, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" is the free exercise clause and not part of the establishment clause.

  8. If you wanna argue this route of the 1st amendment, you can cite the 9th. When you argue that the 1st amendment isn't as far reaching as people seem to believe, you still have to look at the fact that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." This is what really protects your freedoms people want to say aren't protected elsewhere. Remember–just because a right isn't specifically stated doesn't mean you don't have it. You rights go so far as they don't interfere with those of others, keep in mind the original intent.

  9. Good lord, these fedoras in the comment-section who believe having senators and presidents who are Christian means that the country is suddenly a theocracy need to take a look at the IS, Vatican and actual real-life theocracies.
    Also, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights may not be perfect but they define a big deal of US ideals.
    Furthermore, if you're mad about the 'wars', then be mad at the president, white-house staff and congressmen who were there at the time. Leave their historical documents out of this!

    Also for the video, very informative. But don't say nor imply that the first amendment does not do it's job, It's there to make sure that the people of the US to have a right not to have an authoritarian government dictate what they say, hear or pray to. For example, Obama making it impossible for churches to deny marriage to homosexuals could be seen as unconstitutional. Progressive? Perhaps, but it goes against their right to say no. He literally imposed the governments will over the church.
    Saying that priests don't deserve any rights, even if it hurts feelings is hypocritical, besides there were churches who allowed gay marriage before that law.

  10. When you right a super long comment on a mobile device and your screen changes orientation and EVERYTHING IS DELETED. 😱😱😱😱😱😱

  11. How long before Muslims in American stop freedom of religion . And people questioning there religion . There will be no first amendment then. A sad day for American

  12. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are WONDERFUL !!! The ideals and provisions are TIMELESS !!!! If you disagree, you probably haven't read it. "If the government fears the people, you have LIBERTY. If people fear government, you have TYRANNY". I'm afraid of our government, and I don't do anything wrong. I have a job, own my home and have a valid drivers license. If I lose anything, it will be because of the Feds !!!!

  13. How can we be free to speak our mind when:

    1) People can brainwash us into saying what THEY want us to say.

    2) People can interrupt us. I'm looking at you Mitt Romney.

  14. Removing the ten commandments are incredibly stupid. They are just basic common sense laws. They don't even favor one religion. Judaism (and all their different denominations), Christians (and all their different denominations), and Islam (and all their different denominations) believe in those commandments. Shikhs might believe in them as well since they influenced by Islam, but I do not know.

  15. I really like The U.S. constitution. It amazes me how such a short amendment like the first amendment gives the people so much freedom.

  16. How has the South progressed since the Civil War?
    Is The Real Confederate Flag Racist?
    Chances Of Another Civil War(US)
    How powerful is Vietnam?
    How powerful is Singapore?
    Can the State constitution override a Supreme Court decision?

  17. Please do a:
    "Who is Tony Abbott"
    "Who is Shinzo Abe"
    "Who is David Cameron"
    "Who is Vladimir Putin"
    or a "head of state" playlist kinda thing?
    Thanks!!

  18. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
    this Half is basic. America can't make a religion the "must have faith" or ban it. OR make a law that keeps that religion from practicing their faith. so you can't force a church into marrying a gay couple or force a Christian ran clinic to preform an abortion. and Christians can't stop the state handing out their licenses or stopping a clinics from performing an abortion.
    ; or abridging the freedom of speech or the press;
    once again kinda simple. the government can't ban things from being reported or people to say ideas, so the government can't stop you from saying "us government is responsible for the fall of Rome" and can't stop the reporting of government leaders failing to protecting US citizens in Lybia.
    ; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances;
    essentially you can gather whenever wherever and protest whatever and the government can't do shit. but if let's say you are "protesting" like furgason and Baltimore, the government is going to stop you. and they can not do anything from you and anyone else signing a petition saying I don't like that.

  19. Supreme Court decisions don't always make sense, even when based on the Constitution.  When the parents of a fallen serviceman sued Westboro Baptist for disrupting their son's funeral and causing them torment, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no such thing as the right to grieve, and the freedom of speech trumps the rights of grieving parents.  Obviously, this is not what the Founding Fathers intended.  Why didn't this case fall under "free speech exceptions" like provocation, threats and obscenity?

  20. Ok here goes idiot liberals trying to interpret the 1st ammendment to fit thier needs again. "Congress shall make no law" putting a cross up on a courthouse or a war memorial or saying prayers in school is not a law and if congress wants to hang a giant cross right in the middle of capitol hill they could as long as they dont write a bill and pass it to be signed by the pres saying it has to be there. Also the 1st ammendment absolutely protects free speach and that is wxzactly what it was intended for when it was written in the constitution by the forefathers if u think otherwise or try to hide this fact u are first an idiot and second a propagandist bullshit artist trying to persuade other idiots to ur own views. Thank u that will be all

  21. the supreme court never had the right to curtail free speech. it did it, because it was not properly checked. all of the "exceptions" to free speech that are government enforced are illegal and are illegally enforced. government officials regularly do illegal things under the guise of legal action.

  22. Why does the US put Child Pornography as illegal, yet they hold thousands of child beauty pageants? Dressing up children(mainly girls) in fancy dresses or what ever. It's pretty much the same thing.

  23. You have the right to block spammers from your privately owned forum but you don't have the right to tell someone they can't spam. I don't have to let you in my home home but you can stand outside my property and say whatever you like. Whoever wrote this script must hate personal liberty.

  24. So, how come police are allowed to lie to us under the corse of an investigation, but it is illigeal for us to lie. Not that we should be allowed to lie, but they should not be allowed to. False threats from a cop have many a times warranted people to give false confessions, in the hopes of leaneancy. Please respond.

  25. OMFG! I wish people would watch this video and get reality through there thick heads.

    The 'right to free speech' comes with the responsibility to say intelligent things.

  26. I love America's Freedom speech, Europe's freedom is dead, they detain you for hate speech or wearing a burqa

  27. The problem with considering obscenity an exception is that it is not concretely defined. While the supreme court was talking about sexual language, future governments could interpret it as anti-government debate.

  28. That's such fucking bullshit though why even have the First Amendment if it can be easily twisted because it technically bullying is free speech but you can get prosecuted for it which is absolute bullshit

  29. Freedom of speech is not a right in the workplace. You cannot go to work and use obscenities aimed toward co-workers. Your employer can set a code of ethics and if you violate them you can be fired. Claiming freedom of speech will get you nowhere.

  30. what church is christain church got to be christain the bible laws in usa you caint build a building and say its a church if they say their reglion is to worpsore the devil.its holy bible

  31. To all the christians who insist that "the U.S.A. was founded on christian principles": can you guess how many times the words "God," "Jesus," "christianity," or "bible" were mentioned in the U.S. Constitution? ZERO! Get the picture? "One nation under God" was introduced by Ike Eisenhower in 1954, please don't give me that crapola about the founding fathers being christians! They raped their own slaves.

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