Ken Blackwell

All these actions cut to the core of the First Amendment. In the 1970s, pop psychologists used the term micro-debilitating aggressions. It referred to the compounding of negative threats until the result was much worse than each threat taken on its own. The left is doing the same with its attack on our free speech and religious liberty.

Americans are touchy about their rights. Sometimes it seems many mistakenly think anything that is good from a job to good housing is a right owed us. These are rights many think government is obligated to provide.

In all the talk about rights, we often forget the more fundamental rights: the rights we have by virtue of our humanity, the rights we have against government, the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator. We forget, in other words, both the moral basis of human rights and our responsibility to protect these rights.

The rights of free speech and religious liberty in the First Amendment of the Constitution reflect this notion of God given rights. It reflects them because these rights are not given from government but inherent in our humanity.

The First Amendment protects matters concerning freedom of conscience and belief. Its six clauses contain the very essence of liberty, the fixed North Star toward which our entire American system points.

The First Amendment freedom of conscience naturally divides into two parts. The clauses on free speech, a free press, freedom to assemble, and freedom to petition the government to allow us to express ourselves personally or through the press to speak about any issue. The clauses on the establishment of religion and free religious exercise protect our right to believe according to the dictates of our own conscience. These are the twin pillars of a society where hearts and heads are free.

Alarmingly they are under siege by the forces of statism. This year the left has launched a full assault on the First Amendment. The battle has been joined by opponents on the right and the outcome will shape the soul of our Republic.


Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Ken Blackwell's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.