The United States Senate is considering an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that could have serious repercussions for First Amendment freedoms. While proponents of the amendment are lauding it as a move toward campaign finance reform, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, called it “convoluted” and “unacceptable,” and warned it would be “detrimental to liberty and equality, preparing the way for the government to prefer one voice over another – or to suppress one voice under another.”
NRB is not alone in its alarm at this proposal. In a hearing on the constitutional amendment this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the panel, laid out a powerful case against the amendment starting with the foundational principles of unalienable rights found in the Declaration of Independence. He emphasized, “The Bill of Rights protects individual rights regardless of whether the government or a majority approves of their use.”
I trust this proposal to amend the Constitution is D.O.A.–I simply cannot imagine 2/3 of the House and Senate, and 3/4 of the states agreeing to it.
But it points to a bigger question: Why have we allowed so many infringements and alienations of other protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights?
I have seen signs declaring “First Amendment Zones”—I thought the entire country was the First Amendment Zone?!? Why do people now need “permits” to speak out, in many locales and contexts?
Limitations on the Second Amendment are extremely varied and widespread—if it’s a right, I shouldn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to exercise it, else it’s being treated as a privilege, rather than a right.
How about the Fourth Amendment? Where does it say I give up my right to Privacy just because I want to fly, or use a telephone or computer? We’ve come up with rationalizations allowing all kinds of egregious violations of this one.
Oh, and how many people have had their property seized by so-called “Drug Task Forces” when there is no absolutely zero evidence of criminal activity? I thought the Fifth Amendment protected us from such thuggery and criminality?
Do I even need to state that using a Hellfire missile to blow up a totally unaccused—let alone untried—American teen might possibly be a violation of the Sixth Amendment?
As for the Ninth and Tenth… how quaint, but our elected leaders have been ignoring them for generations.
In other words, do we believe these are inalienable, God-given rights, or do we not? Are we prepared to continue turning our system totally on its head, and subjecting ourselves to the whims of men, rather than the Sovereign protection of God?
Yes, this proposal is a horrible idea. But we’ve got a lot more to consider in addition to this if liberty is not to completely perish from the Land.