(Greensboro, NC) -- Today marks the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution was signed September 17, 1787 and represents our countries' legacy of freedom. However, there are some misnomers and myths that many fall victim to.
We thought it would be a great time to shed some light on some of these misguided beliefs, so that you can celebrate today with an american heart and a correct knowledge of this sacred document.
Misnomer #1 - The phrase "separation of church and state" does not exist in the Constitution. This doesn't mean that it cant be used a legal or judicial principle. The words may not exist verbatim, but the courts have found that religious liberty is within the First Amendment. The point of this amendment ensures that any religious belief, private or organized, are exempt from government control.
Misnomer #2 - There is no "taxation without representation." The concept may be present, but it's definitely not in practice. Unrepresented residents of America are still subject to taxation. Immigrants who cannot vote, visitors to our country (who pay sales tax on purchases), and convicts who are not allowed to vote via individual state laws all must pay taxes, yet they have no voice in our government.
Misnomer #3 - The Constitution guarantees your right to vote. While the U.S. Constitution lists plenty of ways that you can NOT be denied voting rights, it never explicitly says you are guaranteed the right to vote. You cannot be refused a vote based on race, gender, age (over 18), and even for failing to pay taxes. The Constitution leaves the specific right to vote up to the states.
Misnomer #4 - The United States of America was designed as a democracy. Do you know how many times the word "democracy" appears in the U.S. Constitution? NONE! Our country was designed to be a republic elected and appointed officials. These officials hold office for the express purpose of creating and abolishing laws as committees or as individuals. Our elected leaders can use numbers and research, and have the tools to judge what is truly best for everyone.
Misnomer #5 - The 1st Amendment guarantees our rights to free speech and no form of government can take that right away. [insert loud "wrong" buzzer sound effect here] The actual statement in the U.S. Constitution says "Congress shall make no law...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." The Constitution actually says that there can be no federal law prohibiting speech. The states can pretty much do as they please. By the way, your first amendment rights only exist on public property - when you are on private property, you are at the mercy of the property owners or local zoning laws.
Now that you are "schooled" on some of the most popular misunderstandings, you can officially celebrate this special anniversary with true American spirit.