Happy Independence Day and happy 244th birthday to the United States of America! No, this nation was not born in 1619 when slaves first arrived, no matter how many trinkets liberal “journalists” award themselves for creating bogus history. It was born on July 4th, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which officially kicked out the previous regime and kicked off history’s greatest experiment in freedom.
Today is when all Americans celebrate our freedoms. But sadly, too many young Americans have been miseducated to feel no gratitude for the titanic struggles and sacrifices made by those of previous generations to secure and preserve those freedoms. Even those who recognize how lucky they are to be Americans are often too willing to trade away their freedoms in exchange for hollow promises of comfort and security. As the great philosopher Joni Mitchell once said, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.”
That’s why the Founding Fathers took such care to lock our most important rights safely within the First Amendment to the Constitution. There are more freedoms guaranteed in that one short sentence than people in most nations can even dream of. That’s why for centuries now, people from around the world have risked their lives to come to America, and why immigrants are often more aware of how unique America is and more grateful for those freedoms than native-born Americans. The Founders understood that freedom really is that precious.
When the framers of the Constitution first met in 1787, many feared that if they created a strong federal government, it would trample the rights of the people, just like the British king they’d fought to break free of. So to make sure the people’s rights would always be protected, they added 10 amendments - although George Mason thought they were so important, they should come first, as the Preface!
Now, in case you’ve never heard it or have just forgotten (as too many federal judges and a few Supreme Court Justices I could name have), here is the First Amendment, in its entirety. Don’t worry, this really won’t take long:
“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.”
Yep, that’s it. This was before government needed a 2,000-page bill just to ruin your health insurance. Only 45 simple words were needed to protect our right to speak freely without fear of government retribution...Our right to publish those words so that other Americans can read and debate them…Our right to band together with like-thinking Americans and protest peacefully without fear of arrest (note: protesting peacefully does not include rioting, arson and looting)…Our right to petition our leaders to change their policies…And our right to be free from having an official state religion forced upon us, but also from government interference with the free expression of our personal religious beliefs (like telling us we can’t gather in church to worship, but we can gather in Walmart.) A lot of people celebrate the first half of that religious right (no state religions) but pretend the second half (no state interference in religion) doesn’t exist. The Supreme Court even seems to be reticent lately to make clear that it means what it says, even though it takes only six words to say it: “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
These are the rights that together create the free American culture that those of who know real history celebrate today. The Founders thought they were all so important that somehow, they found a way to list every single one of them first.
Then, just to be certain that no future government ever tried to take those rights away, they made the very next amendment the right to bear arms.
And they emphasized that these rights are given by God, not government. So no matter how hard some people might try to scratch some of them off of the parchment, it won’t make a lick of difference. You can’t edit God.