Friday, July 19, 2024

LA. Abuses The First Amendment Against Religion

The First Amendment has always been viewed as a double-edged sword. Some see it as limiting religion, while others see it as protecting it. In truth, it is both.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects five fundamental freedoms:

  • Religion: Prevents the government from establishing a religion or from prohibiting the free exercise of religion
  • Speech: Prohibits Congress from restricting the rights of individuals to speak freely
  • Press: Prohibits Congress from restricting the press
  • Assembly: Guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably
  • Petition: Guarantees the right to petition the government for redress of grievances 

It’s crucial to understand that the First Amendment’s sole explicit limitation concerning religion is the prohibition of the government from establishing a religion. This ensures a fair and just society where the state cannot show favoritism towards one religion over another. Equally important, it allows for the free exercise of all religions, emphasizing the need for a balanced application of this fundamental right.

Disturbingly, the American Center for Law and Justice reports that the city of Los Angeles has implemented a policy that outright prohibits the rental of any city-owned facility for “religious worship.” If left unchallenged, this policy could pose a significant threat to our cherished religious freedom.

The policy states:

The Facility Reservation Policy governs use of public facilities such as community center rooms, picnic shelters, swimming pools, basketball courts and sports fields that are available to the public for civic, social, educational, athletic, cultural activities and limited commercial use. The purpose of this policy is to provide use regulations and application and scheduling procedures to accommodate residents and individuals who would like to use City facilities. Facilities will not be used for religious worship or other religious purposes, political fundraisers, political advocacy or, other partisan campaign events, or the sale of goods or services. Candidate or ballot issue forums that present all opposing viewpoints may be accepted.

Los Angeles City Hall

The violation of the First Amendment in this policy is obvious. In a press release, the ACLJ stated:

“When reaching out to city officials to reserve the building, our client clearly expressed he wanted to reserve the space to sing worship songs and watch a sermon on television. Our client was met with immediate resistance by city officials.”

“City officials repeatedly told our client that they cannot permit the use of city facilities for religious purposes. Such a broad prohibition prevents any religious gatherings in city-owned buildings that are open to the general public for reservation.”

In response, the ACLJ sent a cease-and-desist letter to the city of Los Angeles.

The Supreme Court has said, “Private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression.”

On those grounds, the ACLJ is rightly fighting this ordinance.

“Any restrictions imposed by the government on the use of its facilities, such as a library or a meeting room in a community center or building, must be viewpoint neutral. In this case, the policy constitutes viewpoint discrimination by banning any and all use of its facilities for any religious purpose. This policy undoubtedly restricts all forms of expression solely because they are or may be religious and is a direct violation of the First Amendment.”

This is a blatant attempt by the left to eliminate religious activities. It’s the kind of an act that needs to be stopped immediately. The city would gleefully rent its facilities for drag shows or other LGBTQ activities, yet they want to refuse that right for religious groups.

I have long believed that any religion is strictly a belief system reinforced by traditions and rituals. Those beliefs, or the lack of them, then play a part in how people live their lives. Viewed in that manner, the LGBTQ movement can also be viewed as a type of religion. This is why it is especially egregious when a gay pride flag is allowed in a school that will not allow a cross.

No city can be allowed to discriminate against religious activity. The left endlessly promotes perversion and debauchery, backing it at every turn. They see religion as a threat to their agenda.

If moral depravity is allowed a platform, then religion certainly deserves one. This ban violates that right and needs to be overturned.