Quotes About First Amendment

Quotes tagged as "first-amendment" (showing 1-30 of 42)
Neil deGrasse Tyson
“People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

John  Adams
“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
John Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife

Christopher Hitchens
“When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship—though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved…”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Howard Zinn
“I was astonished, bewildered. This was America, a country where, whatever its faults, people could speak, write, assemble, demonstrate without fear. It was in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. We were a democracy...

But I knew it wasn't a dream; there was a painful lump on the side of my head...

The state and its police were not neutral referees in a society of contending interests. They were on the side of the rich and powerful. Free speech? Try it and the police will be there with their horses, their clubs, their guns, to stop you.

From that moment on, I was no longer a liberal, a believer in the self-correcting character of American democracy. I was a radical, believing that something fundamental was wrong in this country--not just the existence of poverty amidst great wealth, not just the horrible treatment of black people, but something rotten at the root. The situation required not just a new president or new laws, but an uprooting of the old order, the introduction of a new kind of society--cooperative, peaceful, egalitarian.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

William O. Douglas
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."

[The One Un-American Act, Speech to the Author's Guild Council in New York, on receiving the 1951 Lauterbach Award (December 3, 1952)]”
William O. Douglas

Judy Blume
“Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.”
Judy Blume

James Madison
“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

[Letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822 - Writings 9:100--103]”
James Madison, James Madison: Writings

Philip Pullman
“Religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.”
Philip Pullman

Rush Limbaugh
“The way liberals are interpreting the First Amendment today is that it prevents anyone who is religious from being in government.”
Rush Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be

U.S. Congress
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.
U.S. Congress

Robert B. Reich
“A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.”
Robert B. Reich

Robert H. Jackson
“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
Robert H. Jackson

Adolf Hitler
“It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.”
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

“The Fourth Amendment wasn't written for people with nothing to hide any more than the First Amendment was written for people with nothing to say.”
Dave Krueger

Kenneth Eade
“Our democracy depends on an informed citizenry to survive, Your Honor. Besides the advancement of truth, science and morality in general, the freedom of the press is a backbone of democracy. It exists to keep the government transparent, and the human instruments of government honest.”
Kenneth Eade, The Spy Files

“Our First Amendment rights are not given to us by the government but are rights we inherently possess. The government cannot use subsequent amendments to limit First Amendment rights. The Free Exercise Clause is both an individual and a collective liberty protecting a right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Therefore, we strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.”
Republican Party, Republican Platform 2016

“Regulated" rights are not rights. They are niceties and platitudes intended to keep the populace thinking their individual autonomy is respected by their government.”
A.E. Samaan

“The United States has experienced more than two centuries of political stability. When viewed against the background of world history, this is remarkable. The First Amendment has played a singularly important role. When citizens can openly criticize their government, changes come about through orderly political processes. When grievances exist, they must be aired, if not through the channels of public debate, then by riots in the streets. The First Amendment functions as a safety valve through which the pressures and frustrations of a heterogeneous society can be ventilated and defused.”
Jacqueline R. Kanovitz, Constitutional Law for Criminal Justice

Travis Thrasher
“Here's a teacher who's talking about Jesus and, oh no, she quotes a bible verse, horror of horrors. The world's breaking and torched and completely messed up, but God forbid some teacher mentions Jesus.”
Travis Thrasher, God's Not Dead 2

Kenneth Eade
“You probably have the right to disclose them, guaranteed by the First Amendment, but that’s no guarantee that will keep you away from criminal prosecution.”
Kenneth Eade, The Spy Files

“It's freedom of speech, not freedom from consequences and/or ridicule.”
A.E. Samaan

DaShanne Stokes
“If you defend free speech for bigots but not to combat bigotry, then you believe in bigotry, not free speech.”
DaShanne Stokes

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“It may be that the most striking thing about members of my literary generation in retrospect will be that we were allowed to say absolutely anything without fear of punishment. Our American heirs may find it incredible, as most foreigners do right now, that a nation would want to enforce as a law something which sounds more like a dream, which reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

How could a nation with such a law raise its children in an atmosphere of decency? It couldn't--it can't. So the law will surely be repealed soon for the sake of children.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“Here is how I propose to end book-banning in this country once and for all: Every candidate for school committee should be hooked up to a lie detector and asked this question: “Have you read a book from start to finish since high school?” or “Did you even read a book from start to finish in high school?”

If the truthful answer is “no,” then the candidate should be told politely that he cannot get on the school committee and blow off his big bazoo about how books make children crazy.

Whenever ideas are squashed in this country, literate lovers of the American experiment write careful and intricate explanations of why all ideas must be allowed to live. It is time for them to realize that they are attempting to explain America at its bravest and most optimistic to orangutans.

From now on, I intend to limit my discourse with dimwitted Savonarolas to this advice: "Have somebody read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution out loud to you, you God damned fool!"

Well--the American Civil Liberties Union or somebody like that will come to the scene of trouble, as they always do. They will explain what is in the Constitution, and to whom it applies.

They will win.

And there will be millions who are bewildered and heartbroken by the legal victory, who think some things should never be said--especially about religion.

They are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hi ho.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“Our freedom to say or write whatever we please in this country is holy to me. It is a rare privilege not only on this planet, but throughout the universe, I suspect. And it is not something somebody gave us. It is a thing we give to ourselves.

"Meditation is holy to me, for I believe that all the secrets of existence and nonexistence are somewhere in our heads--or in other people's heads.

"And I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found.

"By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well.

"This to me is a miracle.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage

« previous 1
All Quotes | My Quotes | Add A Quote


Browse By Tag

More...