The First Amendment is going out of style

According to a recent study, more and more Americans–on some issues a majority of them–no longer believe in the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.  Especially when it comes to religious freedom.

From Joseph Knippenberg, What Do We the People Believe About the First Amendment? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog (follow his links):

  • Only 10 percent of the respondents stated that freedom of religion was the most important freedom Americans enjoyed, far below the 47 percent who gave that honor to freedom of speech.
  • 36 percent of the respondents couldn’t name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; only 24 percent knew that freedom of religion was one of them.
  • The percentage of respondents who think the First Amendment goes too far in protecting rights has increased this year (to 34 percent, still far below the 64 percent who say it doesn’t); younger respondents are much more likely to say that it does (47 percent of 18-30 year olds and 44 percent of 31-45 year olds); and 52 percent of African-Americans, as well as 50 percent of Hispanics, say the First Amendment goes too far.
  • 62 percent of the respondents believe that if a religious organization receives federal funds, it can be required by the government to provide healthcare benefits to employees in same-sex relationships, even if the organization doesn’t support same-sex relationships. Younger respondents are more likely to agree with this proposition than are their older counterparts.
  • 52 percent of the respondents agreed that a business providing wedding services should be required to serve same-sex couples, even if the proprietor has religious objections to same-sex marriage.


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