With a hat tip to Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web Today we have the following.
On the ACLU’s website you will find this:
It is probably no accident that freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Constitution’s framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society.
Perhaps Maureen Dowd wrote the text for them. Let’s examine what they left out in the ellipse. Any guesses? Here’s the full text of the First Amendment.
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.
Now, it could be that the ACLU intended the careful caveat of the word “freedom.” But what about “free exercise?”
That might be a plausible argument, except elsewhere on the ACLU’s website, we find this:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
These opening words of the First Amendment to the Constitution set forth a dual guarantee of religious liberty. Both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause operate to protect the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of all Americans.
Perhaps the ACLU really just finds it inconvenient that freedom of religion comes before freedom of speech in the First Amendment. Perhaps the ACLU has spent so much time trying to convince people that the First Amendment relates solely to speech and freedom from religion that it has itself forgotten that the first freedom in the First Amendment is the freedom to freely worship. Perhaps this forgetfulness explains why the ACLU spends so much time using the federal courts to prevent people from freely practicing religion.
To paraphrase the ACLU, it is probably no accident that freedom of religion is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment. Maybe someone should remind them.
Crossposted at Red State with a much more controversial title.