This I Believe

Courtney - Rancho Mirage, California
Entered on January 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Many Americans feel that their first amendment rights are slowly deteriorating. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution strictly states that “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.” Over the past few years it seems that many of these constitutional rights have been suppressed.

Freedom of Religion is one of the main points made in the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights, which was ratified on December 15, 1791. For the most part, we have a history of tolerance to diverse religions. On September 11, 2001 a change was definitely seen as far as religion is concerned. This devastating incident caused pain not only to those who suffered, but also to those who were looked down upon because of their religion and its connection to terrorism. One example of this discrimination happened last November in Illinois at O’Hare International Airport. A National Guardsman and three members of private security spotted a 22 year old US citizen of Pakistani decent who had to go through a search merely because she wore a hijab, which identified her as a Muslim. Even after six years, Muslims still have to deal with racial and religious profiling.

The First Amendment gives all Americans freedom of speech and expression. This means that we have the ability to speak and act freely without censorship. What is more important to US citizens: privacy or security? It seems that the government can find out any information they want about us through the internet, video cameras, etc. It is understandable that the government is trying to look out for our country, but I personally would rather have my privacy than have the government watching my every move. As far as television and reading selection is concerned, I believe it is the viewer’s choice and the government has no right to censor viewing. Many on the opposing side feel that images and words should be censored for younger children, but that is the parents’ responsibility to decide what their kids should be seeing. Our government should not limit basic freedoms for us.

Freedom of the press is supposed to give Americans the guarantee that they can write what they want and express their opinions with out getting into trouble. On December 10th of this year, a Saudi Arabian man was arrested “because he violated the regulations of the kingdom.” He was expressing his own personal opinions on his government and how he felt about current issues, and in the end he was arrested for this. Is this what is going to happen to the United States? By not following the rights of the First Amendment, there is no telling what could happen in years to come.

I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religions, and freedom of the press. I believe in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.