Did you know that an individual cannot violate the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America? It is a simple matter of grammar.
A sentence is a group of words that conveys a complete thought. The component parts of a sentence include the eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. If you are fuzzy on any of these, an elementary grammar book can help, or you can just Google it.
Those parts of speech have specific roles in any given sentence. These include: the subject, the predicate (verb), the direct object, the indirect object, the object of a preposition, etc. There are other aspects like phrases and clauses, which the above mentioned references can assist you in understanding.
The First Amendment states:
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.
I have set the subject of this rather long sentence in capital letters. I've also underlined the predicates (verbs).
As you can see, the First Amendment doesn't grant anything; rather, it prohibits CONGRESS from carrying out particular actions. The rest of the remaining nine amendments (The Bill of Rights) has to do with things CONGRESS may or may not do. Since the Legislative Branch has the jurisdiction of making law, there was no need to prohibit the other branches (Executive and Judicial) from such actions because the Constitution never gave authority to them in this area.
Wikipedia clarifies this for us, telling us why this no longer applies, by noting:
Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.
If you want to understand the shifts that have occurred in our Republic since its inception, you should become a student of American History from a Biblical perspective. After all that was the prevailing perspective at the time of our country's founding. Let me suggest some easy to understand and engaging material by R. J. Rushdoony: The Nature of the American System, This Independent Republic, American History through 1865, The United States Constitution. In addition, Archie Jones' The Influence of Historic Christianity on Early America is an excellent resource.
Maybe you are among the hundreds of thousands of high school/college graduates who have not considered these matters from a Biblical perspective. It isn't too late to learn. Our future depends on it.
As the professor in the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe questioned in frustration, "What do they teach them at these schools?
Visit my website: www.KingdomDrivenFamily.com
2. For those who wish and additional resource on this subject, see The Journal of Christian Reconstruction "Symposium on the Constitution and Political Theology."
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].