Free Speech & First Amendment

Basic Information and Talking Points

What is Free Speech?
Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family
The phrase “freedom of speech” is a familiar one to Americans, but often misunderstood. It is generally understood to mean “The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.” So what did the Framers of the Constitution intend it to mean?

Christians and Free Speech – Introduction and Overview
Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family
Because the “free exercise” of religion often involves the spoken or printed word, or even what the courts call “expressive speech” – i.e., non-verbal communications that convey a message – Christians should know their rights under the free speech clause.

Comprehensive Research and Articles

Faith, Freedom, and the First Amendment: The Guarantee of Religious Liberty
Thomas Berg, The Heritage Foundation
Freedom of religion is at the heart of the American understanding of liberty. Under our constitutional order, the free exercise of religion is not a mere matter of toleration but an inalienable natural right.

Websites, Books and Additional Information

Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.

Reclaiming Your Freedom to Live Your Beliefs on Campus
Alliance Defending Freedom
Requiring students to advocate an idea outside the classroom crosses the line into unconstitutional “compelled speech” and is alien to a free society.

Why the First Amendment Applies Differently to Public and Private Universities
Kara Schmidt, Alliance Defending Freedom
The First Amendment protects the freedom of private universities to determine their own priorities and values, unrestrained by government control. And any governmental interference with that freedom, even in the name of free speech, would actually violate the First Amendment.

How the Government Is (or Is Not) Upholding Our First Amendment Rights
Sarah Kramer, Alliance Defending Freedom
Did you know that only six in 10 Americans can name any of the five rights protected by the First Amendment? A University of Pennsylvania poll published this disheartening statistic earlier this year.

Give Free Speech Life
Alliance Defending Freedom
Words matter. And no one should be forced by the government to use their words to promote something they don’t believe in. If the government can coercively put its words into one person’s mouth—in this case, pro-life pregnancy centers—then freedom for all of us is at risk.

FRC’s Tony Perkins Applauds Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Free Speech Rights for Pregnancy Care Centers
Family Research Council
“The First Amendment is clear in its wording and guarantees all Americans are legally protected from compelled speech by their government. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the state of California was clearly in the wrong in this case and all Americans, whether pro-life or not, should be relieved with the Supreme Court’s decision…”

Losing Our Voices: Who Owns Free Speech on the Internet? (Video)
Family Research Council
In an era when 69% of American adults use social media platforms to express themselves, the free market powers of digital giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have collided with the free speech rights of citizen internet users. In the wake of a consistent pattern of censorship by tech companies of lawful but politically incorrect viewpoints — particularly those of conservatives and Christians — what is the legal status of digital free expression? Is big tech entitled to the information of its platform users? And in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, can the tech giants be trusted to regulate themselves? What are the benefits and pitfalls of government intervention? And will Silicon Valley be the final arbiter of opinions and information in the virtual sphere?

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