First Amendment freedoms are cherished

Published 8:05 am Monday, May 28, 2012

By Julie Seedorf, Something About Nothing

Charles Bradlaugh stated: “Better a thousand fold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech.”

Recently I was watching an “America’s Got Talent” episode in which I was shocked by a contestant’s behavior and even more shocked by the judge’s behavior in putting the obscene act through to the next level. I had always thought of “America’s Got Talent” as a family show. I would have bleeped out many things that the judges thought were wonderful. Some might argue that that also is freedom of speech. The First Amendment says people have the right to speak freely without government interference.

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I have heard much disrespect being spoken about our president of the United States. I was raised in an era where no matter how much you disagreed with policy you still showed respect to the leader of our country.

As much as we agree or disagree with what is being said the First Amendment protects our right to voice our opinion.

Newspapers, columnists, writers have the right to express their opinion and publish the news. People in the United States have the right to publish newspapers, magazines, newsletters, etc., because of the freedom of the press in the First Amendment.

I can choose to practice my religion, go to any church I choose without interference of government. The First Amendment protects the freedom of religion. Although I happen to feel that it was easier practicing my faith when I was younger and respect was given to the different religions by carving out time that allowed people to worship. Having said that, because we can choose to worship, people have made the choices that sports, shopping, etc., may be more important than preserving the rights we have been given by the First Amendment that allows us to worship. I remember stories from people that came from what they called the “old country” meaning their country where they had to worship in secret. My grandmother valued the fact that she could openly worship her god in America.

Because of the First Amendment, we have the right to challenge the government about their policies. We can petition and gather names in support of a cause. We have the right to have a voice in our government.

How many organizations and groups do you belong to? Have you ever participated in a protest against something that you felt strongly about? The First Amendment states that we have the freedom of assembly. We have the freedom to gather and protest as long as it is peaceful. We can make our feelings known. The First Amendment protects those rights.

You might wonder why I am writing about the First Amendment on Memorial Day weekend. I think it is fitting to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day weekend. It is a time to remember the men and women who have died protecting those First Amendment freedoms. Memorial Day is a time to say thank you to those men and women that are still actively protecting those freedoms today. These men and women and their families have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice parts of their lives for those freedoms.

We take our freedoms for granted. We forget what life might be like without them. We need to remember these freedoms, who has made sacrifices for these freedoms and that we need to protect these freedoms for the next generation of Americans.

 Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at