Freedom of Religion, the First Freedom
Why is freedom of religion so important?
Freedom on religion as enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution is our most precious freedom. It’s called the “first freedom” because on this freedom all others depend. It is not simply freedom of worship, which some autocratic societies permit even as they restrict religious liberty. In such countries one can worship yet not be free to change religion or to proselytize. Freedom of religion recognizes citizens’ capacity to think, to follow their conscience, to choose or to choose not to worship God. This respect for individual dignity is the foundation upon which freedom of speech, assembly, mobility, press, law and justice, and government by consent of the people are built. The Founding Fathers did not reference God or Christianity in the US Constitution, wisely separating religion from state in the now immortal words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There are now more than 3,000 religious groups and over 331 million people in our country. Everyone of these people enjoy religious liberty. It’s an inalienable right.