Written by Don Byrd
Ever wondered why the guarantee of religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution resides in the same amendment as the guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble? Brian Kaylor of Word & Way explains in a new column that it is no accident. Each freedom enshrined in the First Amendment depends on and reinforces the others.
[I]t seems significant that when James Madison and others inked out our guarantee of religious liberty, they put it in an amendment along with other essential rights: right to free speech, right to a free press, right to assemble and right to petition the government. These freedoms actually work together. We cannot enjoy true religious liberty without free speech and free press rights, as well as the rights to assemble and petition.
At Word&Way, this is particularly obvious. As a religious publication, our very existence requires not only religious liberty rights but also free speech and free press rights. Our right to communicate our faith as we feel led inherently needs those other two rights.
The same is true for churches or individuals.
Kaylor makes an incredibly important point. Freedoms of belief matter little without expressive freedoms, which include freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom to assemble with those who are like-minded. Read the whole thing.