The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, this was not done without reason. Our founding fathers established this country with guidelines protecting our liberties, very specifically, our religious freedoms. This Amendment not only protects the right to religious belief and expression, but also ensures that the government not favor religion over non-religion, or vice versa, nor is it permitted to favor one faith over another. With over 3500 religious groups identified in the US, preserving the liberties therein is imperative to the foundation of our country and the well-being of The People.
Florida’s State Constitution has it’s own articles protecting Floridian’s basic rights, including religious freedom. Article 1, Section 2 states, “No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability.” and Section 3 follows with, “There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof.”.
Over the years we have seen various attacks on these freedoms, most recently here is Florida with the introduction of Senate Bill 64, from Senator Book. SB64 moves to remove religious vaccine exemptions from school children and proposes that a medical panel, seperate from the patient’s physician, be instituted for approval of medical vaccine exemptions. Removing the rights of children to attend school if their families beliefs do not align with vaccination is a direct violation of not only our Constitution, but also Florida State law.
Regardless of one’s position on vaccination, every Floridian should be concerned with government entities attempting to remove our basic rights and force medical procedures. Standing united against government overreach is our responsibility, it is our duty as Americans to preserve our freedoms and defend human rights.