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Myths about the U.S. Constitution

by Maitreg

  1. The 1st Amendment protects my right to free speech and no federal, state, or local government has legal authority to take that away.

  2. "Separation of Church and State" is guaranteed by the Constitution.

  3. This country was set up as a true democracy.

Any other myths you'd like to see discussed here, feel free to email me.

1.  The 1st Amendment protects my right to free speech and no federal, state, or local government has legal authority to take that away.

False.  Like all other amendments, the interpretation of the specified restrictions on government is left in the hands of seated courts.

1st 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."

Therefore a state or local official's authority to prohibit your free exercise of speech is actually governed by the the state's constitution or local law, as long as a higher court does not rule it unconstitutional.   Under the U.S. Constitution every one of the 50 states has full legal authority to declare a new law that disallows any type of speech they wish to declare illegal.  If they want to prohibit you from passing out religious pamphlets, campaign buttons, or even newspapers at the local mall, the Constitution has no authority over them.  What the Constitution says is that there can be no federal law prohibiting speech.

Also keep in mind that these 1st Amendment rights only exist on public property.  Private property restrictions are generally left up to the property/deed owners, neighborhood associations, zoning laws, etc.

2.  "Separation of Church and State" is guaranteed by the Constitution.

False.  This is the most common myth today.  How many times is "Separation of Church and State" mentioned in the Constitution?  Zero!   This was a term created in the middle of the 20th Century in an attempt to coerce people into thinking that the government and the church should have no relationship whatsoever.  The 1st Amendment does not guarantee a separation of the church and the government.  On the contrary, the 1st Amendment says that the U.S. Congress has no legal authority to make laws concerning religion.  The key word here is "laws".  This means that they can't make a federal law prohibiting the worship of Buddha, nor can they make a law that someone must worship Buddha.  What it does not say is that the U.S. Congress cannot recognize a religion.  It does NOT say that the state government can't make new laws about religion.  It does NOT say that a public school funded by local taxpayers cannot conduct daily prayers at school or school events (i.e. football games).

Related links:

bullet A Letter to the Rutherford Institute by Albert Hembd

3.  This country was set up as a true democracy.

False.  How may times is the word "democracy" included in the Constitution?  Zero!  This country was set up as a republic, not a democracy.   A republic is a hierarchical political system with elected and appointed officials that govern the land and create/abolish the laws as either whole bodies, committees, or individuals.  A democracy is a system set up with minimal representation where the majority ALWAYS rules and most decisions are made by popular vote.

Don't believe me?  If we all voted RIGHT NOW to abolish the 2nd Amendment and make all guns illegal, would it happen?  I seriously doubt it.  The Constitution was not set up to be changed on the whim of the populace.  That's why we have elected representation.  Those officials must decide through an exhaustive system of checks and balances which laws and amendments must be created and abolished.  Yes, the 2nd Amendment can be abolished legally, but it cannot be done by a "popular vote".

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