The Bill of Rights

How many rights do you have? You should check, because it might not be as many
today as it was a few years ago, or even a few months ago. Some people I talk to
are not concerned that police will execute a search warrant without knocking or
that they set up roadblocks and stop and interrogate innocent citizens. They do
not regard these as great infringements on their rights. But when you put
current events together, there is information that may be surprising to people
who have not yet been concerned: The amount of the Bill of Rights that is under
attack is alarming.

Let\'s take a look at the Bill of Rights and see which aspects are being pushed
on or threatened. The point here is not the degree of each attack or its
rightness or wrongness, but the sheer number of rights that are under attack.

Amendment I

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.

ESTABLISHING RELIGION: While campaigning for his first term, George Bush said "I
don\'t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be
considered patriots." Bush has not retracted, commented on, or clarified this
statement, in spite of requests to do so. According to Bush, this is one nation
under God. And apparently if you are not within Bush\'s religious beliefs, you
are not a citizen. Federal, state, and local governments also promote a
particular religion (or, occasionally, religions) by spending public money on
religious displays.

FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION: Robert Newmeyer and Glenn Braunstein were jailed in
1988 for refusing to stand in respect for a judge. Braunstein says the tradition
of rising in court started decades ago when judges entered carrying Bibles.
Since judges no longer carry Bibles, Braunstein says there is no reason to stand
-- and his Bible tells him to honor no other God. For this religious practice,
Newmeyer and Braunstein were jailed and are now suing.

FREE SPEECH: We find that technology has given the government an excuse to
interfere with free speech. Claiming that radio frequencies are a limited
resource, the government tells broadcasters what to say (such as news and public
and local service programming) and what not to say (obscenity, as defined by the
Federal Communications Commission [FCC]). The FCC is investigating Boston PBS
station WGBH-TV for broadcasting photographs from the Mapplethorpe exhibit.

FREE SPEECH: There are also laws to limit political statements and contributions
to political activities. In 1985, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce wanted to
take out an advertisement supporting a candidate in the state house of
representatives. But a 1976 Michigan law prohibits a corporation from using its
general treasury funds to make independent expenditures in a political campaign.
In March, the Supreme Court upheld that law. According to dissenting Justice
Kennedy, it is now a felony in Michigan for the Sierra Club, the American Civil
Liberties Union, or the Chamber of Commerce to advise the public how a candidate
voted on issues of urgent concern to their members.

FREE PRESS: As in speech, technology has provided another excuse for government
intrusion in the press. If you distribute a magazine electronically and do not
print copies, the government doesn\'t consider you a press and does not give you
the same protections courts have extended to printed news. The equipment used to
publish Phrack, a worldwide electronic magazine about phones and hacking, was
confiscated after publishing a document copied from a Bell South computer
entitled "A Bell South Standard Practice (BSP) 660-225-104SV Control Office
Administration of Enhanced 911 Services for Special Services and Major Account
Centers, March, 1988." All of the information in this document was publicly
available from Bell South in other documents. The government has not alleged
that the publisher of Phrack, Craig Neidorf, was involved with or participated
in the copying of the document. Also, the person who copied this document from
telephone company computers placed a copy on a bulletin board run by Rich
Andrews. Andrews forwarded a copy to AT&T officials and cooperated with
authorities fully. In return, the Secret Service (SS) confiscated Andrews\'
computer along with all the mail and data that were on it. Andrews was not
charged with any crime.

FREE PRESS: In another incident that would be comical if it were not true, on
March 1 the SS ransacked the offices of Steve Jackson Games (SJG); irreparably
damaged property; and confiscated three computers, two laser printers,