Central High School - Red and Black Yearbook (St Louis, MO)

 - Class of 1949

Page 14 of 88

 

Central High School - Red and Black Yearbook (St Louis, MO) online yearbook collection, 1949 Edition, Page 14 of 88
Page 14 of 88



Central High School - Red and Black Yearbook (St Louis, MO) online yearbook collection, 1949 Edition, Page 13
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Page 14 text:

ur Most Precious Freedom By DoR1s KIEFPER Central Representative in American Legion Oratorical Contest Suppose someone should ask you, "Which one of your rights and privileges, which one of your American freedoms do you consider most precious?" Each one of you might answer this question differently because each would consider it according to his own individual vocation and way of living. To some, freedom of speech might seem to be the outstanding right that we, the people of America, enjoy. To some, freedom of the press might seem paramount. To others, the right of petition or assembly might seem to be the cornerstone of our democ- racy. All of these are important to us, each and every one of them, although one may touch some of us more than others. Can we really say that any single one of our American free- doms is the most precious? If we examine the first amendment of our national constitution, we will find five fundamental rights or freedoms established for the American people. Four have already been mentioned, but one still remains, and it was put first, even before the others. To secure this freedom was the most important reason why many of our forefathers left their homelands years ago to start the settlement which is now called the United States of Ameri- ca. If this one right had been omitted from our national Constitution, America would never be considered the land she is today, and our proud statue of liberty could not live up to its name. This outstanding American right is freedom of religion. It is just a small part of one amendment, but a subject on which volumes have been written and a cause for which thou- sands have given their lives. To find religious freedom our forefathers chose the far and dis- tant shore of a wilderness land, and reach this land in the dead of winter to light a candle of democracy and peace-to start a new world in thought, in religion, in freedom. We are proud today to be able to live in a land where religion is a,matter of choice and conscience. That small part of the Hrst amend- ment expresses it as follows: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there- of," a short expression, but oh, how important -a tiny acorn from which the mighty oak has grown. Thus, in this search for religious freedom, America was born, and when our colonial fathers framed our bill of rights they placed this idea first in our list of freedoms. During the l60 years Which have passed since that Bill of Rights was written, freedom of religion has been guarded and protected by every court and every judicial power throughout the length and breadth of this mighty land. The church and state in America are entirely separate and no public school is allowed to show any favoritism to any religion or even to handle a religious question in any manner whatsoever. No other single clause in our national con- stitution has ever been given the respect and consideration that has been placed around this religious guarantee. When men of certain reli- gious creeds recently claimed that service in the army of the United States violated their religious beliefs, these men were excused from regular army duty rather than encroach in the least possible way upon their religious beliefs. When certain school children followed a religion which prohibited raising their hands in salute to any- thing but God, these children were excused from saluting our Stars and Stripes by the Supreme Court of the United States. Yes, there must be no interference with reli- gion in America. Everyone can select his own church-everyone can worship his own God in his own way, everyone can follow his own religion-for freedom of religion is the first and most precious of all our American freedoms.

Page 13 text:

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Page 15 text:

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