Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Bill of Rights Day

By Diane Silver

I have to run off to get to work in a minute, so there's not much time to ponder the importance of the 215th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. However, I did want to take a second to put up a link to that important document and to remind readers why the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution are such a key part of our society.

I think they are at the core of the American Dream. To me that dream has never been about becoming rich as much as it has been about freedom -- the freedom to simply be who you are and to pursue your dreams. The Bill of Rights preserves that freedom. Thanks, founders, for giving us that gift.


Anonymous said...

This is an exactly time to remind Americans that the phrase "Separation of church and state" DID NOT supplant the First Amendment.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

The term separation of church and state has been used in interpreting the First Amendment for a long time. It does not, of course, supplant it, but it does clarify it. What the Amendment says is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..." The Fourteenth Amendment means this rule applies to the states as well.
No law is probably specific enough on its own. But I agree with Thomas Jefferson, rather than with the law professor you cite: Keeping church and state separate is the best way to make sure no one is deprived of the right to practice their religion or forced to go along with a religion they disagree with.

Diane Silver said...

Mary Rose, thanks for posting.

Nancy, thanks for your clarification.

My take on the issue of church and state and the First Amendment (my all time favorite of the Bill of rights) is in one of the first posts I put up on In this Moment called "The Fundamentalist's Bad Bet." I can't seem to post the link without messing up the layout of the comment section, but you can find it in "Silver's Greatest Hits" in the top right column of the blog. Many apologies for the weird typos. (There's a very long story behind those. Again apologies)

It's great to have religion be part of society. I am deeply religious myself, but it is a terrible idea to have government enter into religion in any way. To push for such a thing, as some fundamentalists do, is to make a very bad bet indeed.

Take care all!