On September 25, 1789, with the American Revolution ended six years earlier, the fate of the nation was still uncertain. Would the 13 colonies coalesce into a single union or remain separate states? The proposed Constitution had failed to win consensus and those opposed were demanding more personal rights and liberties than provided for by the document.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison that a Bill of Rights was “what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.”
It was 230 years ago today, September 25, 1789, that the First Federal Congress of the United States by joint resolution formally proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. Articles three through 12 were ultimately incorporated as the Bill of Rights, becoming the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
More than two years later, on December 15, 1791, they were ratified by the required three-fourths of the states, sealing the fate of the new republic.
“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.”
As revolutionary as the war was, these amendments were even more so, as they guaranteed the rights of the individual—something never previously incorporated incontrovertibly into law.
The first amendment guarantees that “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.”
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.