The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of our land, and was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first three articles set up rules and separate the power of the three branches of government. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights.
Credit: wikipediaSadly, many today have forgotten our Constitution and what it is about. The laws are also challenged or contradicted each year with new proposals, and are constantly changing. If we don't know what our rights are, then we won't know they are slowly being stripped away.
The Bill of Rights says that we should have the right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, and to petition the government.
Many conflicts have arisen concerning these rights. Some people do not feel we have total freedom of religion. Some religions do not believe in vaccinations, but yet most states require a child to be current on all shots before being allowed at school. There are forms and ways around it, but it can be a hassle. Or, a company may want to make a road through what Indians consider a sacred area. The recent healthcare mandate would force religions institutions to provide coverage for services that are against their beliefs, threatened with a large fine for not complying.
Freedom of speech is also always not granted. Turn on the news any given day lately and you will probably see an example of someone being thrown out, banned, or charged for something they said. In fall of 2011 New York state senators said that we have too much free speech, and introduced a bill to limit free speech. A famous quote made by George Washington said that "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." General council member Bob Bauer threatened stations in some states to have their FCC license pulled if they aired NRA ads. These are just a few examples of the many that have happened or continue to happen here in America. HR 1966 was intended for cyber bullying, however language in the bill states to offend someone repeatedly online would be a felony charge. It reads "Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." I agree if someone is truly harassing your child that some type of action should be taken. But there is a fine line determine what is offensive. What may be offensive to you may not bother me at all, or vice versa.
The right to assemble has also been challenged. In March of 2012 President Obama signed the H.R. 347 Anti-Protest bill. This bill added more areas to be protected and made it a crime to knowingly enter such areas. Regardless of whether you believe in the cause, if people are peacefully protesting they should have that right. That's what should be so great about America, we may not always agree with each other of believe the same way...but we have the right not to! And it isn't just the Occupy Wall Street crowd, there have been many arrests at women's rights protests and other events. Apparently now it's wrong to voice an opinion or belief that differs from the government.Credit: http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/constitution-101-the-meaning-and-history-of-the-constitution-lesson-5/
Another part of the Bill of Rights states that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act was signed on Dec. 31, 2011 by President Obama and reads that United States citizens can be held indefinitely without trial. While this law applies to terroristic activities, what you and I consider to be terroristic may not be the same as the government. Critics claim the bill includes occupy protesters, activists, militia groups, animal rights groups, and many others to fall under this broad category. Article V gives us the right to due process of law.
The right to bear arms has also been attacked over the past several years. This second amendment gives us the right to carry without being infringed upon. This controversy bothers me so much more than the others because it absolutely drives me crazy that every time something bad happens, and the person used a gun...anti gun activists jump on the band wagon and try to use it to get more laws passed. I hate to break it to them, but if someone really wants to harm someone they will find a way to do even without a gun. Just to put this in perspective, if people were going around knocking others in the head with a brick hard enough to kill them, are we going to try to ban or prohibit bricks? I think not, but to me this is sort of the same principle. And even if you took all the guns away from responsible gun owners, they would still be available on the street for all of the criminals. So what's the point in that? We should have the right to protect ourselves and our families if need be.
Some Americans fear our nation is headed toward socialism. Others claim that the Constitution of the United States is not even taught in our schools anymore. Companies such as Teacher Created Materials Publishing teach the constitution worded differently, on a lower level of learning for a child. I understand a child may not understand the Constitution how it is worded, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't translate to people's basic needs being met by the country, or housing, education, transportation, and healthcare are overseen by the government. What is this? Teaching our kids to grow up and fully rely on the government for all their needs? There is nothing wrong in using the system if you TRULY need it, but it was never intended to take care of everyone in every manner.
I'm not sure what the answer is or how to reclaim our rights. It seems hard to do with the threat of arrest looming over head for using free speech or exercising the right to protest, which may or may not land you right into an arrest with no right to due process of law. Familiarize yourself with what this country means, and teach your children the true constitution before it is too late.