Freedom Fry

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

What does the First Amendment Mean?

4:14 PM

What exactly does the first amendment mean regarding religion? It reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...."

Does it mean, "Congress shall make no law which applies to religious organizations?"

Or, "Congress shall make no law which respects a religious establishment?"

Or does it mean, "Congress shall make no law regarding how a religion is established?"

Or, lastly, "Congress shall not establish any religion?"

I think it's about time we rewrite the constitution to clear up ambiguities like this that result from changing language over the years. Perhaps we should rewrite it every 100 years or so.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the establishment of religion clause in the Constitution. Essentially, "establishment of religion" is setting up a state church, like the Church of England;" where there is a clear collusion of State and Religious interests. So, the state according to the Constitution cannot support the establishment of any religious institution, body, or practice. Hence the prohibition on using tax dollars to finance a Christ (or Budhha, or Krishna...whatever) is Great assembly once a week in schools around the country.

11:22 AM  
Misha Cohen said...

I understand that reading, but I think it's also open to other readings. Was that the original intent of the framers? I don't know a lot about the writing of the time. I think all of these laws could use a few paragraphs of explicit explanation that isn't legally binding, but that gives the flavor of the law more clearly.

2:11 PM  

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