Rich Tucker
In spring, bicycles come out of storage, newspaper photographers snap pictures of people riding them, and those photos generate letters of complaint to The Washington Post.

“You do both bikers and wannabes a great disservice in illustrating this article with a photograph of a biker who is not wearing a helmet,” wrote a correspondent on May 19 . "This isn't the first time The Post has done this. Please give more consideration to issues of safety and awareness." A week later, a different writer added, “I would appreciate that The Post (in addition to publishing the helmet comments that have been made previously) convey the safest riding practices."

Notice that the writers aren’t simply complaining that there are riders out there who’re not wearing helmets. These readers simply don’t want others to see people riding without helmets.

A similar thing happens with religious liberty. Some activists don’t want to be exposed to religion in any form, so they’re trying to eliminate any religious displays.

Recall the words of the First Amendment :“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.”

Let’s note that the Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee the free exercise of religion, so they enshrined freedom of religion in the Constitution. The First Amendment ensures there will be no official, state supported “Church of America.” They’d seen the way the Church of England could stifle freedom, and they wanted no part of that.

But while the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, it doesn’t provide freedom from religion. Sadly, though, that seems to be how many want to read the First Amendment.

For example, In the “Mt. Soledad Cross” case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the federal government could not acquire and maintain a war memorial that included a cross honoring veterans. The court believed that such a display violated the Constitution’s prohibition on Congress respecting an establishment of religion.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for