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Monday, July 12, 2010

#732 Amendments One Through Five

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, ExpressionRatified 12/15/1791. Note
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.

This one seems clear enough. No matter how much some folks would like it to happen, there is a clear separation of church and state. There is no, and should be no, state religion. Our ancestors came here to escape religious persecution among other things. Regardless of Whom you choose to pray to, should you so choose, do not require everyone else to do the same. You have the right to say it, but not the right to enforce it.

Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This one is clear and straight-forward. At the time it was written it seemed appropriate for the citizenry to be able to secure its freedom with its own arms if necessary. History shows us it was a necessity. Recent history shows us that there are folks who exercise this right and for the same reason - to protect their turf. It is at this point where we might have some problems. In protecting their "turf" innocents get caught in the cross-fire. Not a good move. This is an issue that will be addressed, hopefully, by people of good sense and principles.

Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
I wonder how this amendment was followed during the Civil War?

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fortunately, there don't seem to be too many challenges to this amendment. Or, are there?

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This one has been re-interpreted lately. Apparently, the courts have ruled that business entities can be considered a person. That doesn't seem fair. In fact, it seems to fly in the face of the amendment's original intent.


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