Bill of Rights is a document that gives the people the right to freedom of speech, press, assembly and petition; it also gives the people the right to be secure in their possessions. These are the foundations of a just society. Freedom is what gives any nation value; it is what makes it possible for people to prosper and at the same time, make the world a better place. It is a philosophy which is not only timeless but contemporary as well. And the best way to understand this is by understanding how Bill of Rights affects one’s life.
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Freedom of speech and press means that you are able to speak out on issues and be counted; you are allowed to question authorities and government officials and get answers from them. You are allowed to seek information from all sources and this is particularly important in a democracy where access to information is a right enjoyed by all citizens. You have the right to peacefully assemble; demonstrations are one way of expressing your freedoms of speech and expression. And this is especially true during times of social revolution or chaos like now when mobs shout down those who are perceived to be opposing them. And as a Bill of Rights champion, I am very sensitive to the plight of other minorities that are routinely abused by these mobs.
You also have the right to peaceful assembly and to protest any abuse or violation of these freedoms. Anybody is allowed to participate in these demonstrations but no one is allowed to be inciting or supporting the participants in any way. And in terms of your Bill of Rights, there are many more areas where you can be targeted including speech codes, discrimination, segregation, hate speech and mob violence. The Bill of Rights does not only protect you as a person; it also protects you as a culture and as a nation. And this is critical because any country can fall prey to mob hysteria and therefore, this is one area where we can guard against it.
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It is very ironic that we are told by the most religious personage in the world, Jesus, who is purported to have given us all this, that it is the sin of coveting that causes so much evil in the world. In other words, if you are a Christian, you must not only love your fellow man but you must also love your neighbor as well. In the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly tells his followers to love their enemies, to welcome those who have been oppressed, to open their homes to strangers, to assist the widow and the needy, to feed the hungry and thirsty, etc. Those are literally thousands of commandments. And yet in spite of that, we still see Christians engaging in all sorts of evil. Does that say to me that those who claim the greatest love and compassion in the world are not really practicing what they preach?
Those who are doing the bulk of the lobbying against our Bill of Rights aren’t doing it for the Christians of America. They are doing it for the large corporations who will benefit from the passage of the legislation. Corporations do need to be monitored. But the freedoms that they must be allowed to infringe upon others, those of other cultures, religions and races, must be protected by another law.
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Some people who complain about the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our freedoms, are truly passionate about the freedoms that they wish to preserve. Others are not. And it’s those who aren’t, that must be taught first. Otherwise, we will end up with more people demanding more freedom from others, until the very fabric of society is threatened.
That’s what I meant when I said that the Bill of Rights was not intended to give people freedom. It was designed to prevent government abuse of power. It was created to insure that the people could continue to protect themselves from absolute evil. And in this country, that includes government abuse of power. If the government can’t protect you, no one else can, and if there is no law protecting you, civilization is dead.
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To understand the greatness of the Bill of Rights, and why it is important to all of us, we need to look to our forefathers. They did fight against every kind of evil in this world – including government. And they didn’t hesitate to use their Bill of Rights to ensure that all Americans were safe from government intrusion. Now that they’re gone, we have to make sure that all Americans have a voice, and that each one of them is given all of the freedoms that he or she wants to enjoy – but without abusing those freedoms.
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