Our Bill of Rights (i.e. the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution) was ratified by the states effective December 15, 1791. Its 227th birthday is recognized this month on that date with national “BILL OF RIGHTS DAY ”. Regrettably, its annual observance and historic significance passes with minimum media mention.

The Bill of Rights added to our Constitution guarantees of individual liberties, limitations on state and federal government power in judicial and other proceedings, and reservation to the states of powers not provided the federal government.

These historic constitutional liberties are –

  • 1st – right to freedom from religion, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, press, peaceable assembly and grievance petition.
  • 2nd – right to keep and bear arms.
  • 3rd – right to freedom from forced housing of soldiers without consent or law.
  • 4th – right to freedom from search and seizure without probable cause and sworn warrant.
  • 5th – right of accused in criminal cases to grand jury determination, no double jeopardy, no self-incrimination, and no private property seizure without just compensation.
  • 6th – right of criminal accused to fair and speedy trial by impartial jury, witness confrontation and compulsory process, and defense counsel.
  • 7th – right of civil litigants to jury trial, and fact determination by jury protected.
  • 8th – right to freedom from excessive bail, fine and punishment.
  • 9th – rights provided may not deny the rights of others.
  • 10th – powers not provided federal government reserved to states or people.

We became the first nation in history to constitutionally provide individual freedom of belief and separation of religion from government in addition to other personal liberties.

Our American Constitution Bill of Rights was a genesis for the historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 declaring “…everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and other individual liberties.

America’s lawful founding document, the Constitution with Bill of Rights, created our nation as a secular republic and not a sectarian one (i.e. not one based on a religion). Secular refers to the non-religious (e.g. US Preamble, Constitution and Government). Sectarian refers to the religious (e.g. 2,000 different American Christianities and 10,000 distinct world religions recognized by World Christian Encyclopedia or 221 different religious belief groups for the military recognized by the US Department of Defense).

American individual freedom of any religion or no religion freely flourishes. It is our precious liberty of belief for which every American can be proud. Moreover, it is religion-neutral (i.e. neither anti-religion nor pro-religion). We can truly celebrate with patriotic pride our egalitarian Bill of Rights.

“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse…” – THOMAS JEFFERSON (3rd President & a Founder)

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights…stands as a landmark achievement in the history of human liberty.” – GEORGE W. BUSH (43rd President & a Republican)


John Compere
Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam)
Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member

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  1. Beth Zion MMC

    The poor general here has lost a few brain cells in his old age. he seems to misunderstand the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights does not say freedom from religion(that is what atheists want) here is the exact wording of the First Amendment.

    Amendment 1
    – Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press

    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.

  2. Grey One talks sass

    Beth Zion – so where does it say you are allowed to shove your religion into law? Because you sure do like to put your nose (and faith) where it does not belong.

    Dislike the retired general all you want, his analysis of the Bill of Rights is accurate. The First Amendment ensures the rights of the religious and not religious, despite your personal beliefs. That is what makes the USA so great. Freedom of and from religion.

    This is what I found online. The only difference I can see is my definition has punctuation. Yours does not Beth Zion. Might want to fix that.

    First Amendment:
    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.

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