Monday, June 21, 2010

freedom from religion

as a nontheist, i am of course interested in the right to freedom from religion. i believe that the Ninth Amendment implicitly gives me the right to be free of religion. the unenumerated rights are i think the most important phrase in the entire Bill of Rights. if we paid more attention to the Ninth Amendment, we wouldn’t need several of the later amendments — slaves would be free, all men and women would have the right to vote, prohibition would never have happened, e.g.

the Bill protects individual citizens from the tyranny of the federal government. it is a list of “they shalt nots” — not “thou shalt nots.” as such, the Ninth Amendment is probably the most important of them all. and notice that it is placed — deliberately, i believe — ahead of the Tenth Amendment’s guarantee of states’ rights vs. federal rights. placement matters. the rights of the individual trump the rights of the state or of the federal government.

and, in the light of the Ninth Amendment, i plead with you to keep god out of government, including out of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. i do not have a favorable opinion of any gods, including the judeo-christian one so often quoted. we are not a nation “under god” as long as i — and the 12-14% of my fellow americans share that opinion. how can we be indivisible if there are those of us who are not “under god”? the Ninth Amendment gives us the right to be free of god and religion. i am not godless — i am god-free. and i have that right, thanks to the unenumerated rights of the Ninth Amendment.

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