Here we are... our second installment of Consti-Tuesday. Having covered the Preamble last week, it only seems appropriate to continue on to the First Amendment. Sure, I could do the Articles of the Constitution, but there's just too much there to decide where to go first, so I think I'll come back to those issues as they present themselves to be necessary in later debates... cool?
So... the First Amendment...
“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.”
Let's be honest, here... there's a lot packed into it, and quite frankly, that's a lot to conquer in one post, so I'll break it down to several pieces in order to keep it more readable.
We'll start today, with the first two little sections. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”)
Why is it that the FIRST TEN WORDS are so hard for so many people to acknowledge?
“Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion...”
For some reason, people of one particular religious leaning fail on every level to realize that this means THEIR RELIGION can't be used to affect law! That's where our bigoted laws preventing the marriage of loving couples comes from. “Certain people” think that because THEIR religion says that gays are lesser human beings at best (and SUB-HUMANS in some circles), that means THEIR religious beliefs should be shoved on everybody else. These are the same people who use THEIR religion to claim that Abortion should be illegal.
Here's some news, though... YOUR religion doesn't speak for EVERYONE! That's why the Amendment says YOUR religion can't become law, and neither can ANYBODY ELSE'S! (yes, that means that your fears of "Shariah Law" taking over the courts... I'm looking at YOU, Oklahoma... *remember?... are founded in absolute ignorance of the Constitution)
Those are also the people who like to say that America is a “Christian nation”... no... it's not... “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion”... remember?
They also use THEIR religion to say that SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN FACTS can't be used when educating our country's children! Just because YOUR book says something contrary to what FACTS have determined, doesn't make it true! I mean, would you be as apt to have students taught that the world is actually on the back of a turtle, floating through the Universe, like OTHER PEOPLE'S beliefs state? I doubt it... but THEIR book says so, so what's to say THEIR theory isn't just as relevant as your's? Don't like THEIR religion being shoved down YOUR throat? Tough shit! That's EXACTLY what you've been doing to everyone else!
… such arrogance is destructive and belligerent...
Let's look at the second half of the first part now, shall we?
“... nor abridging the free exercise thereof...”
... nobody can tell me how to worship...
… unless I use marijuana in my religious practice, as is done in virtually every corner of the world, by people of several different faiths...
Let's be honest... some people CAN'T celebrate their religion lawfully because a certain aspect of their faith has been made illegal in one way or another.
From that perspective, let's consider the job market...
Even companies who claim to be “Equal Opportunity Employers” will discriminate against people who use marijuana for spiritual purposes... If you have THC in your pee, you can't work there... the fact that it's part of your RELIGION doesn't make a lick of difference!
… and, of course, if someone claims religious freedom in this respect, they must be lying just to get high, right? Well, who the fuck are YOU to tell ANYBODY that their belief is illegitimate just because it's not how YOU worship???
Allow me to delve into my own belief a little bit, here...
I believe that God is the absolute intangible personification of purity. Given that fact, bringing thoughts and feelings of “corruption” (anger, hate, arrogance, fear, etc.) into a conversation with God is an abomination akin to blasphemy. Marijuana is a holy herb that drives away “corrupt” thoughts and feelings, so as to maintain the purity of God.
In most of the country (with the current exception of Washington and Colorado), if I'm caught with marijuana, I would go to jail for violating the law, despite my own personal beliefs. MY religion doesn't matter in the eyes of the law, because I don't purport to follow a "major" religion.
… doesn't that sound like they're “abridging the free exercise” of my beliefs? I'd sure as fuck say so...
It's fairly rare that BOTH parts of the first part of the First Amendment are observed congruently. People see one part, but not the other. When will people start looking at EVERYTHING, instead of just the shit they like?
I call this “Constitutional Cafeterianism,” meaning they treat the Constitution like a cafeteria... they only see what they want and ignore the rest... and, of course, if it's there, it must be there JUST FOR THEM! You don't have to share anything at a cafeteria... if you want to try something, you just get some of it. So, of course, what you have is YOUR'S and YOUR'S alone! This is something we HAVE to stop doing! It's arrogant, ignorant, and elitist; and it's a philosophy that we don't need ANYWHERE near our laws!
What it all boils down to is, everyone worships differently. One group's beliefs shouldn't be EVERYONE'S law, and that's EXACTLY what this part of the Amendment says! Furthermore, just because you don't agree with the way someone practices their faith, that doesn't mean they're wrong for practicing it their way! The Amendment says that, too!
The two go together FOR A REASON! You can't have one without the other! You can't pick and choose! Plain and fuckin' simple!
Time to get back on track, America... why can't we all just... get along? Why can't we all just... let people worship the way they please and keep our religion to ourselves?
Consider this... in Article VI, sec. 3, it further enforces the First Amendment by stating “... no religious test shall ever be required as qualification for any office or public trust under the United States...”
Get it? YOUR religion doesn't make you qualified for ANY office! Therefore, even MENTIONING your religion on the campaign trail is a VIOLATION of the Constitution! If your religion doesn't make you qualified for your office, it can't be used to justify the laws you make, either!
On top of that, consider this... if you think that your Christian beliefs are something that should be shoved on everyone, look at Matthew 6:5...
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (http://bible.cc/matthew/6-5.htm King James version)
How do you like that? Since you made SUCH a big deal of pushing YOUR shit on other people, you won't be going to Heaven... what's more, EVEN JESUS THINKS YOU'RE A HYPOCRITE!
Don't like it? Sorry... it's YOUR Bible... just like the Constitution, if you don't like it, tough shit! You can't pick and choose. It's right there in Jesus' own words... sorry to point that out, but your delusion called for it.
See? The Constitution isn't the ONLY document that tells you to keep it to yourself... your own holy book says so, too! I don't give a fuck if it's inconvenient to your political motivations... blow me!
… and for those of the people who think that what I'm saying is wrong just because it's coming from a “Non-Christian”... for those of the people who think that I should be blocked or banned for speaking my mind, allow me to introduce you to the next part of the Constitution, which I will get to at a later time...
“... nor abridging the […] freedom of speech...”
I can say it as loud as I want, in any way I want, with any tone that I want, and if you don't like it, tough shit!