Article 3.3 – First Amendment – “Congress Shall Make No Law…”

First Amendment – “Congress Shall Make No Law…”

One of the simplest and best arguments in any discussion of the First Amendment is to quote the first five words, Congress shall make no law, and discuss the Founders’ original intent of those words:

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

According to the specific wording of the First Amendment…

Question-1: To whom is this amendment addressed?  Who does it say shall make no law…?  (Answer: Congress.)

Question-2: Can a school violate the First Amendment by putting on a Christmas or Easter play that includes Jesus?   (No.)  Why not?  (Because a school is NOT Congress!)

Question-3: Can a teacher violate the First Amendment by using the Bible as a historical text?  (No)  Why not?  (Because a teacher is NOT Congress!)

Question-5: Can a local city council violate the First Amendment by displaying the 10 Commandments on city property?  (No.)  Why not?  (Because city councils are NOT Congress!)

Question-6: So, who is the only one who can violate the First Amendment?  (Congress.)  Individuals cannot. Teachers cannot.  Schools cannot. Local governments cannot.

Question-7: And what is the only way Congress can violate it?  (By making a law to establish a particular denomination as the “national church,” or by making a law to abridge the free exercise of religious beliefs, speech, press, etc.)