It’s impossible for a student to violate the First Amendment!

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:16 AM By: Bryan Fischer
Bryan Fischer Director of Issue Analysis and Host of "Focal Point" Connect Follow More Articles

High school senior Kendra Turner was suspended for saying “Bless you” when a fellow student sneezed in class. Not for saying “God bless you,” mind you, but simply “Bless you.”

Her enraged teacher aggressively informed her that there would be “no godly speaking” in her classroom and sent her to the assistant principal’s office when Kendra took her stand on the Constitution. You know, the document that talks about our right to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.  As we will see in a moment, it is simply impossible for a student to violate the First Amendment. It can’t be done.   

When Kendra informed her teacher that she had a constitutional right to free speech, the teacher curtly replied, “Not in my class you don’t.” Apparently her classroom has been annexed by Communist China and nobody knew.  The constitutionally ignorant assistant principal backed the teacher to the hilt, and before Kendra knew what hit her, she had been tried, convicted and sentenced to in-house incarceration. She likely would have received milder punishment if she’d cut loose with the F-word.  When Kendra took her stand on the Constitution in the assistant principal’s office, she was told her “freedom (of) speech and religion does not work at (our) school.” Wow. Apparently the entire campus now honors Mao, Stalin and Hitler over Thomas Jefferson.

Evidently this is not the first assault on religious expression this teacher has made, as Kendra’s pastor’s wife reports that other students had complained that she was “demeaning to them in regard to their faith.”  The plain truth is that if we are guided by the Constitution as given to us by the Founders and not as shredded beyond recognition by activist courts, it is impossible for a student to violate the First Amendment even if she wanted to.  That’s because the First Amendment applies only to Congress. This is as plain as the nose on James Madison’s face, as its very first word makes abundantly clear: “Congress shall make no law...”

The First Amendment restrains only the actions of Congress. Only Congress can therefore commit a violation of the First Amendment. And it can only do that in one of two ways, either by picking one Christian denomination and making it the official church of the United States (the establishment clause) or by prohibiting the free exercise of the Christian religion anywhere in America (the free exercise clause). If it doesn't do either of those two things, it can do anything else it wants to do with regard to religious expression.  And since the First Amendment has never been amended, it means exactly the same thing today as it meant in 1789.  So Kendra couldn't violate the First Amendment even if she set out to do it, for one reason: she’s not Congress.

 

I say it’s time to get back to the Constitution the Founders gave us. Free Kendra Turner and let freedom ring.

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