One Third of Americans Want Less Freedom Under First Amendment, Says Poll

| by Michael Allen
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One third of Americans want to see less First Amendment freedoms, according to a shocking new poll.

A recent poll conducted by the First Amendment Center found that 34 percent of Americans believe the First Amendment “goes too far in the rights it guarantees.”

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, located at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, surveyed of 1,006 adults in May.

“It’s unsettling to see a third of Americans view the First Amendment as providing too much liberty,” First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson stated in a press release. “This underscores the need for more First Amendment education. If we truly understand the essential role of these freedoms in a democracy, we’re more likely to protect them.”

The First Amendment 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."

When asked to name the specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, 59 percent said freedom of speech, while 24 percent said freedom of religion. 14 percent claimed freedom of the press, 11 percent stated freedom of peaceful assembly and 4 percent mentioned the freedom to petition the government.

Many Americans also supported censorship: 31 percent want to ban songs with offensive lyrics and 44 percent support court orders requiring journalists to name their sources, which contradicted the 80 percent who think the news media should act as an independent “watch dog” of the government.

Source: First Amendment Center