The Instigator
Tatarize
Pro (for)
Losing
30 Points
The Contender
mmadderom
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom from religion.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,131 times Debate No: 2196
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (16)

 

Tatarize

Pro

The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees not only freedom of religion but freedom from religion.
mmadderom

Con

The first amendment does no such thing.

It simply prevents the Government from establishing a state sponsored religion.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

See, it's that last part that destroys your statement of fact. "OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF". That means you aren't free from hearing about religion. In fact, it gives you (the person who wishes to not hear about religion) no "rights" on the matter at all. Any religion is free to air itself in public. Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah Winfreys couch, for example.

There are no "rights" to NOT be exposed to something in the entire Constitution.
Debate Round No. 1
Tatarize

Pro

The first amendment of the US constitution guarantees that the state will not force a religion on you. A state sponsored religion is certainly prohibited and you are free from the religion of the state, but you are free from any establishment of religion by the state. The state cannot force you to be Buddhist or Muslim, but it also can't force you to read the Koran or meditate.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

You say that because it contains the phrase "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" that you have no freedom from religion? To the contrary, the first part gives you freedom from religion being imposed by the state and the second part gives you freedom of religion beyond the interference of the state. You have both freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

The Bill of Rights is established specifically to restrict the rights of the government, these restriction prevent the government from doing a number of things forcing religious ideas on you, keeping you from your religious idea, keeping you from speaking out, keeping you from printing news, keeping you from assembling, etc. The first clause specifically restricts the government from imposing a religious idea upon you.

You like many others, fail to understand the restrictions of the first amendment. They are limits on the power of government not on the power of the people. Freedom of religion means the government can't interfere with religion on Oprah's couch or a little prayer group after school. Freedom of religion means that the government cannot sit you down in class and make you read the Bible (was actually done until it was struck down by the Supreme Court) or force you to pray (also done, also struck down). The government at any level (due to 14th amendment expansion) cannot impose religious ideas on you.

You can be exposed to religion all day long. Your freedom of religion is freedom from the government. Just as you could have a group telling you there is no God all the time and it would be legal. It would simply be illegal for the government to do so.
mmadderom

Con

OK, seems we are arguing the same thing here.

The establishment clause affects only the Governments interference in religious matters. It does not guarantee you freedom from religion. It protects the rights of the people to practice religion in any manner they see fit. It does not protect your "rights" to not be exposed to religion simply because you have no such right. If the church of scientology wants to send a group to stand on the street outside of your home holding up signs of Ron L. Hubbard and yelling that Zenu is going to throw you in a volcano if you don't convert, they are free to do so with no recourse by you.

In order to guarantee freedom FROM religion, the Constitution would have to specifically outlaw religious expression in public all together.
Debate Round No. 2
Tatarize

Pro

That's freedom from religion. That's why you cannot have school prayer, school bible study, why "Under God" in the pledge is likely unconstitutional as well as "In God We Trust" on our money. Because the government has no right to push a religion on you. You have freedom from religion.

Nobody argued that the bill of rights prohibits people from preaching to you, in fact that's prohibited by the first amendment. You have freedom from religion as guaranteed by establishment clause of the first amendment. It not protects the rights of the religion from government interference as well as protects the rights of the non-religious from a government pushing of religion unto the people.

Freedom of religion.
Freedom from religion.

You're the one assuming that the first amendment constitution protections need to apply in public where the government isn't involved. It's like saying that I don't have freedom of speech because Disneyland would kick me out for yelling profanities really loud while walking around.

The Amendments of the Constitution are restrictions on government power, first amendment right of freedom from religion and freedom of religion are no exception.
mmadderom

Con

Your disneyland freedom of speech example is an excellent illustration of why the establishment clause doesn't guarantee freedom from religion.

"freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion" aren't guaranteed freedoms in the least. They simply protect the individual from the Government interfering in your practices of them.

School prayer and Bible reading aren't banned to protect your "freedom FROM religion", they are banned so as not to infringe on anyone elses right to freedom OF religion. In the case of schools, these bans apply only in the classroom setting, where students are obligated to be. Many school sponsored functions open with prayer or contain religious connotations, such as the school choir singing religious songs in it's Christmas program. You aren't free "from" religion simply because an event happens on Government property.

The establishment clause simply prevents forced religion, it does not in any way, shape, or form guarantee freedom from exposure to it. Not even on Government owned and operated property.

If your argument is that the establishment clause somehow protects you from having to participate in religious beliefs, that's a non-starter. Religious choice is a personal matter. To choose no religion at all doesn't need protection as there is nothing to protect against in the first place. The premise is no religion as a starting point, then rights are given to protect those who choose to practice it, without Government intervention.

To protect against something, you have to ban it. That's not the case here.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
Fiiiixed
Posted by Korezaan 8 years ago
Korezaan
I affirm. This comment is now over 25 characters.
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Vote Placed by Kleptin 8 years ago
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