„The First Amendment expresses our Nation’s fundamental commitment to religious liberty by means of two provisions–one protecting the free exercise of religion, the other barring establishment of religion. They were written by the descendents of people who had come to this land precisely so that they could practice their religion freely. Together with the other First Amendment guarantees–of free speech, a free press, and the rights to assemble and petition–the Religion Clauses were designed to safeguard the freedom of conscience and belief that those immigrants had sought. They embody an idea that was once considered radical: Free people are entitled to free and diverse thoughts, which government ought neither to constrain nor to direct.“

—  Sandra Day O'Connor, McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union, 545 U.S. 844 (2005) (concurring).
Sandra Day O'Connor foto
Sandra Day O'Connor9
Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United… 1930

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David Lloyd George foto

„A free religion and a free people in a free land.“

—  David Lloyd George Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1863 - 1945
Backbench MP, Speech in Merthyr Tydfil (November 1890), quoted in Thomas Jones, Lloyd George (London: Oxford University Press, 1951), p. 11.

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Patrick Henry foto

„That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.“

—  Patrick Henry attorney, planter, politician and Founding Father of the United States 1736 - 1799
Misattributed, Virginia Bill of Rights, Article 16 (12 June 1776); Henry was on the committee which drafted the Virginia constitution and he supported this Bill, but it is not clear to what extent he was the author of any portion of it. This statement is also sometimes misattributed to James Madison who quoted it in his arguments for the United States Bill of Rights.

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Aron Ra foto

„Blasphemy is not a crime. It’s a right. It needs to be exercised. We have the right not to believe lies. That’s important. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion as well. You can’t have freedom to practice your religion if you’re not free from the dominant religion. It is basic sense.“

—  Aron Ra Aron Ra is an atheist activist and the host of the Ra-Men Podcast 1962
Exclusive Interview with Aron Ra – Public Speaker, Atheist Vlogger, and Activist https://conatusnews.com/interview-aron-ra-past-president-atheist-alliance-america/, Conatus News (May 17, 2017)

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„The Establishment Clause, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce nonobserving individuals or not. This is not to say, of course, that laws officially prescribing a particular form of religious worship do not involve coercion of such individuals. When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain. But the purposes underlying the Establishment Clause go much further than that. Its first and most immediate purpose rested on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion. The history of governmentally established religion, both in England and in this country, showed that whenever government had allied itself with one particular form of religion, the inevitable result had been that it had incurred the hatred, disrespect and even contempt of those who held contrary beliefs. That same history showed that many people had lost their respect for any religion that had relied upon the support of government to spread its faith. The Establishment Clause thus stands as an expression of principle on the part of the Founders of our Constitution that religion is too personal, too sacred, too holy, to permit its "unhallowed perversion" by a civil magistrate. Another purpose of the Establishment Clause rested upon an awareness of the historical fact that governmentally established religions and religious persecutions go hand in hand. The Founders knew that only a few years after the Book of Common Prayer became the only accepted form of religious services in the established Church of England, an Act of Uniformity was passed to compel all Englishmen to attend those services and to make it a criminal offense to conduct or attend religious gatherings of any other kind-- a law which was consistently flouted by dissenting religious groups in England and which contributed to widespread persecutions of people like John Bunyan who persisted in holding "unlawful [religious] meetings... to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom...."“

—  Hugo Black U.S. Supreme Court justice 1886 - 1971
And they knew that similar persecutions had received the sanction of law in several of the colonies in this country soon after the establishment of official religions in those colonies. It was in large part to get completely away from this sort of systematic religious persecution that the Founders brought into being our Nation, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights with its prohibition against any governmental establishment of religion. Writing for the court, Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).

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„If I were king, I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged.“

—  Antonin Scalia former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1936 - 2016
2010s, And it is addressed, in particular, to speech critical of the government. New York Times (July 19, 2012)

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„I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or persecute the free exercise of any other religion.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963
1960, Speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, Context: But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or persecute the free exercise of any other religion. And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny their Presidency to Protestants and those which deny it to Catholics.

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„The church and civilization are antipodal; one means authority, the other freedom; one means conservatism, the other progress; one means the rights of God as interpreted by the priesthood, the other the rights of humanity as interpreted by humanity. Civilization advances by free thought, free speech, free men.“

—  Matilda Joslyn Gage American abolitionist, writer 1826 - 1898
Woman, Church and State (1893), p. 540 as quoted in K. M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible: A Comparative Study https://books.google.com/books?id=9qkoAAAAYAAJ, New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan, 2000

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„The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.“

—  Isabel II do Reino Unido queen of the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and head of the Commonwealth of Nations 1926
During a speech at Lambeth Palace, 15/02/2012. Quoted on royal website http://www.royal.gov.uk/LatestNewsandDiary/Speechesandarticles/2012/TheQueensspeechatLambethpalace15February2012.aspx

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„The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government.“

—  Charles Evans Hughes American judge 1862 - 1948
Judicial opinions, Context: Freedom of speech and of the press are fundamental rights which are safeguarded by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. [... ] The right of peaceable assembly is a right cognate to those of free speech and free press, and is equally fundamental. As this Court said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 552: The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment of the Federal Constitution expressly guarantees that right against abridgment by Congress. But explicit mention there does not argue exclusion elsewhere. For the right is one that cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all civil and political institutions — principles which the Fourteenth Amendment embodies in the general terms of its due process clause. [... ] These rights may be abused by using speech or press or assembly in order to incite to violence and crime. The people, through their legislatures may protect themselves against that abuse. But the legislative intervention, can find constitutional justification only by dealing with the abuse. The rights themselves must not be curtailed. The greater the importance of safeguarding the community from incitements to the overthrow of our institutions by force and violence, the more imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion, to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes, if desired, may be obtained by peaceful means. Therein lies the security of the Republic, the very foundation of constitutional government. Charles Evans Hughes, De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 365 (1937).

„If you neither believe in religion nor fear the hereafter, then at least be free from tyranny and arrogance“

—  Husayn ibn Ali The grandson of Muhammad and the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib 626 - 680
General Quotes, Biharul Anwar, Vol. 45, P. 51

Antonin Scalia foto

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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