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Justice Samuel Alito Warns of Declining Support for Free Speech and Freedom of Religion

Autor: Daily Citizen

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is sounding the alarm about declining support for free speech and the freedom of religion.

Justice Alito, 74, made the remarks in a commencement address on Saturday at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President George W. Bush on Oct. 31, 2005, to replace the retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 31, 2006.

“Right now, in the world outside this beautiful campus, troubled waters are slamming against some of our most fundamental principles,” the justice said.

Alito, a Catholic, said that support for free speech is “declining dangerously” – particularly on college campuses around the country.

“Very few colleges live up to that ideal. This place is one of them … but things are not that way out there in the broader world,” Alito said.

“Freedom of religion is also imperiled,” he told the graduating students, adding,

When you venture out into the world, you may well find yourself in a job, or community or a social setting when you will be pressured to endorse ideas you don’t believe, or to abandon core beliefs. It will be up to you to stand firm.

Additionally, Justice Alito taught the graduates a life lesson based on the U.S. Constitution – perhaps not a surprise coming from the committed constitutionalist.

For almost all of us, there will be troubling times, times of temptation. When they come, if we have fixed and clear principles, principles that are written in bold letters in our hearts, we may be able to find our way through, but if we don’t, we could easily go astray.

Justice Alito’s wise words are a welcome – and needed – exhortation to Americans. The two rights mentioned by Justice Alito – the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion – are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

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.

And yet, many Americans are ignorant of the rights they enjoy. No wonder support for free speech and the freedom of religion are declining – why would Americans support rights they are ignorant of?

Constitution Day is celebrated every year on September 18. For the past 18 years, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania has released its annual civics survey to coincide with Constitution Day.

In 2023, the survey found that a majority of Americans could name only one of five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

When asked to name their First Amendment rights, the survey found:

  • Three-quarters (77%) name freedom of speech.
  • Less than half (40%) name freedom of religion.
  • A third (33%) name the right to assembly.
  • Just over a quarter (28%) name freedom of the press.
  • And less than 1 in 10 (9%) know the right to petition the government.

Only 5% could correctly name all five rights; 30% could name three or four; 46% could name one or two; and 20% could not name any.

Photo from Annenberg Public Policy Center.

In his Farewell Address given in 1796, former President George Washington said, “Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”

In other words, since the government represents and is accountable to the people, it is necessary for the people to be knowledgeable and wise.

Unfortunately, many of our nation’s schools and universities are failing at instilling basic civic knowledge in their students. Rather, they are more dedicated to promotingdiversity, inclusion and equity” (DIE) and a sexual agenda than they are in forming enlightened and knowledgeable citizens.

If you have children in public schools, or teenagers preparing for college, check out some of our available resources below.

If you’re worried about what your child is being taught in school, check out the following resource from Focus on the Family: Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.

If your teenager is preparing to pick a college, we’ve compiled a helpful list of some Christian institutions you may want to investigate.

Related articles and resources:

Back to School for Parents

Choosing a College

Helping Your Teen Choose a College

Many Americans Unaware of Key Facts About U.S. Constitution, Survey Finds

Landmark Victory for Free Speech at the U.S. Supreme Court

Michigan City Pays $825,000 to Farmer for Violating His Religious Freedom

Snowboard Coach Wins $75K After Termination for Saying Men and Women are Different

Student Asks Court to Uphold Right to Wear ‘There are Only Two Genders’ Shirt

Cakebaker Jack Phillips Asks Colorado Supreme Court to End ‘Crusade’ Against Him

Photo from Getty Images.

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