Constitution

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The Part Before the First Amendment

Monday, October 1st, 2007

I’m getting sick of hearing celebrities tout their “First Amendment rights” whenever their mouths get them into trouble. Lately one potty-mouth after another has made a political issue out of statements that have little more impact than the slurred speech directed at the umpires who regulate America’s favorite pastime.

The First Amendment does guarantee the right to speak your mind without fear of government imposition. To be exact, it reads,

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.

Notice that nothing is said regarding when or where Congress must allow free speech. Solomon was right: there is a time and a place for everything. Try yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie theater when there isn’t a fire, and see if you will be protected by the First Amendment.

Frankly, it is a little hard to listen to spoiled celebrities whine about oppression when Burmese monks are being slaughtered by the hundreds for pro-democracy demonstrations.

Another consideration is that there is more to the Constitution than the Bill of Rights. I wonder if the free speech activists are familiar with its Preamble? Our Founding Fathers began with these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Not only does the Constitution protect our right to speak out concerning those issues that are important to us, but it also promotes the “general Welfare.” These words speak to decency and the common good. Hollywood’s promiscuous sex, drug culture, and foul language doesn’t always fit within this framework, and that is why her celebrities are sometimes censored. Most of us think they should be censored more often, especially when they are being broadcast on the public airwaves on programming that is billed as “family friendly.”

Since everybody’s talking about the appendix to the Constitution, I thought I would speak out for the Preamble. After all, it’s my right.