By Roseann Salanitri – WesternJournalism.com –
“…nowhere in the 1st Amendment is there any reference to protecting our right to worship as long as it doesn’t offend anyone.”
Our Founders’ experience with a government that had exceeded its logical, moral, and spiritual authority greatly influenced the Constitution they would eventually design. In our Declaration of Independence they expressed their reasons for declaring their independence from tyranny along with their belief that government’s primary role was to protect our God-given rights. Our Constitution and form of government were based on those basic beliefs about what government should be and how it should be limited in order to protect our God-given right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Immediately after ratification of the Constitution, our Founders agreed that they needed to amend the Constitution in order to protect our rights as citizens in addition to limiting government. And so the first 10 Amendments, which are referred to as our Bill of Rights, were born. The name, The Bill of Rights, appropriately became the reference for these first 10 amendments because that’s what they were: amendments to protect our rights as distinguished from the Constitution that was designed to limit government.
Although the language in the Bill of Rights is clear, its meaning can still be twisted and misused. The 1st Amendment specifically 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 (sic) for a redress of grievances.
The section being discussed herein is emboldened above and was the very first part of the 1st Amendment that was agreed upon by our Founders and ratified by the states. There have been many writings built around this particular phrase which rightly rely on the understanding that this portion of the Amendment was written to protect the church from the state, and not the other way around. But ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has managed to twist and pervert even the simplest statements. He persuaded Eve and subsequently Adam to believe that if they ate of the forbidden fruit of the garden they would become like God. Both Adam and Eve knew what God clearly said, but that didn’t stop them from believing Satan’s twisted interpretation.
Another example occurs after Christ was baptized and spent 40 days in the desert. During this time of fasting, Satan unsuccessfully tempted Him by accurately quoting the Scripture but twisting its meaning. In Matthew 4:5-7, Satan said:
If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ (The emboldened part of the verse was quoted by Satan exactly as it is written in Ps. 91:11-12)
Of course, we know that Jesus fully understood not only the word but the meaning of Scripture and quickly replied appropriately. However, it is important to understand that Satan did not misquote Scripture, he just perverted its meaning to suit his means. Such is the case with the 1st Amendment. No one, not even Satan, argues the language contained in the Amendment, but he can and he has managed to pervert its meaning and, consequently, today’s Adams and Eves still fall prey to his cunning. (Note: although it is not the subject of this writing, a similar argument applies to the 2nd Amendment.)