I’m going to cut right to the chase here. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is not the brightest star in the galaxy–and I’m being generous. Several days ago on MSNBC, she alleged that the First Amendment is not intended for the individual, but only for religious institutions:
“Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that…In this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”
Here’s the text of the First Amendment, just for reference:
“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.”
Media Trackers reports that University of St. Thomas Law School professor James Oberstar notes that it’s accepted that the First Amendment covers individuals:
“Because it is now accepted that the Free Exercise of Religion Clause protects religiously motivated conduct as well as belief, the most important modern issue has been whether the protection only runs against laws that target religion itself for restriction, or, more broadly, whether the clause sometimes requires an exemption from a generally applicable law.”
However, I think it’s only appropriate to give Sen. Tammy Baldwin a fair shake—try to see things from her perspective. Given that, I’ve decided to rewrite the First Amendment for Sen. Baldwin and her liberal counterparts.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof—unless they have to in cases in which the social landscape has changed to such an extent as to warrant it. Moreover, this liberty extends only to individuals worshipping inside a building of more than 4000 square feet, designated by the federal government as a place of worship.
Furthermore, one cannot practice their alleged faith outside the context of a “church building.” If such a time arises that other interests outweigh faith—as understood by the federal government—one must gladly and with a smile accept those outside forces into the church body.
“Faith” may need to be reassessed at such a time when outside forces have rendered it offensive. Upon this reassessment, portions of biblical text (but never Koranic text—for obvious reasons) shall be altered to erase any offensive text. This text will be rewritten by approved federal government officials to be more inclusive and to foster a safe-space for the previously religiously disenfranchised;
or abridging the freedom of speech—unless such speech is considered offensive to a federally designated minority group, such as the most relevant ones at the time—including but not limited to the LGBTQI, the undocumented American population, or native Americans. If such a case should arise in which what was previously culturally normative becomes “hate speech,” that speech will effectively be erased from the lexicon and replaced with something more culturally reasonable as decided by the federal government. Such hate speech will then be criminalized.
Furthermore, free speech shall only pertain to speech within the designated “zones of sensitivity,” the parameters of which shall be designated by the federal government;
or of the press—except any press which would defy the established order, or make any accusations against government officials, which could harm the continuity and unity of the American community. Any entity that defines these orders, which will be dictated by the federal government and continuously updated, shall be shut down;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances–except when those assemblies may violate the above sections of the Amendment.
Assembly must not be allowed for merely any reason, nor shall an assembly include more than ten members. Any assembly must first be approved by the federal government for purposes of safety and theme. If any man or woman should have a grievance with the government, they must be extraordinary, and they must be brought to its attention under the above free speech requirements.”
I think that about sums up the left’s preferred First Amendment.