“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
There are five separate rights in the First Amendment, speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Before agreeing to accept the Constitution, the Founders of our democratic republic demanded that these freedoms be protected by an amendment to the original document.
There’s no citizenship requirement for First Amendment protection. If you’re in the U.S., you have freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition.
The First Amendment favors no political party. It can be used to push for social and political change or to oppose change. The First Amendment is for everyone.
Where people get balled up about the First Amendment is prayer in schools. The disconnect comes from a lack of understanding of both the purpose and intent of this Amendment. It is both freedom OF religion AND freedom FROM religion.
The following quote from the Supreme Court explains the principle.
“The question in this case is whether the prayer practice of the town of Greece by doing too little to reflect the religious diversity of its citizens, did too much, even if unintentionally, to promote the ‘political division along religious lines’ that ‘was one of the principals against evils against the First Amendment was intended to protect.’ Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S.602, 622 (1971). The town of Greece, New York failed to make reasonable efforts to include prayer givers of minority faiths, with the result that, although it is a community of several faiths, its prayer givers were almost exclusively persons of a single faith.”
Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!