In pre-revolutionary times, the British government (some say the King, but England has had a Parliament since after the civil war in the middle 1600s) was trying to control religion and the press. The practice, in some form or another, was ancient by the time of the American Revolution, as we see the Bishop next to the king and queen on a chessboard. When the U.S. was formed it was therefore fresh in the minds of the Founders that there should be some strict protection of both religious freedom and freedom of speech.
Why? Why is it so important that government not be in control of religious practices or of the press? It’s because as we all know, governments invariably grab more and more power for themselves at the expense of liberty. What better way to help that process along than to control the thinking and the beliefs of the people, and what better way to control the thinking and beliefs of the people than to control religion and the press?
But there is something missing. If you can’t have control of religion and the press, there is something just as powerful as a means of controlling the minds and beliefs of the people.
It’s a pity the Britts weren’t trying to establish political and social indoctrination centers disguised as schools, circa 1770. In that case our first amendment would have been slightly different;
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or respecting the establishment of education, 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.
As it is, your kids are being taught what to believe, not in a Church Of America and not by a U.S. version of Pravda, but in government schools.
(If the kingdoms of Medieval times had used education as it is being used today, maybe we’d see a “College President” or maybe a “Head of Education”, or perhaps a “Head of the Teachers’ Union” in the same line with the king and queen, the knights, and the rooks on a chessboard)