I have the distinct pleasure of being a student in Pete Marquez's night classes that focus on the U.S. Constitution. I'm one of only a handful of faces in his Sunnyside High School classroom.
With four classes under my belt and one more to go, I can easily say it's by far been a rewarding experience.
It's amazing that a group of men got together to pen the Constitution so very long ago and that very few changes have been made to it.
Located in the first amendment is our right to freedom of expression.
Have you ever found yourself wishing that somehow, someway, that right could be stripped from someone? I have. There have been a lot of cases over the years, but two that are in the forefront of my memory.
The first has to do with the funeral of Matt Emerson, a Grandview soldier who lost his life in Iraq. There's some church, somewhere, that tracks soldier deaths and then promotes its membership to attend and protest at the funeral.
Their stance? That the deaths of U.S. soldiers is God's payback for homosexuality.
I don't know what one has to do with the other. I do know that when I saw the smear campaign on their website about Matt's funeral I was sickened.
My first reaction was, "Put a stop to it!" No grieving family or those paying their respects should be subjected to that kind of outlandish filth.
Wrong. The first amendment clearly outlines the freedom of assembly and religious freedoms. There's no putting a stop to it.
The second instance has to do with some controversial news stories that surfaced last week.
Apparently a Yale art student prepared a piece of work, set to be on display at the University. The subject matter? According to her, she artificially inseminated herself and then used herbs to self-abort. She then smeared her blood on plastic sheets and, voila, referred to it as body art.
My stomach curled when I first read about it. Again, I thought, "Put a stop to it!"
The idea that someone would intentionally create life only to destroy it for the sake of art is beyond unsettling to me. In fact, it truly is beyond what my heart can comprehend.
But the fact that this is her right as an American citizen has always been present in my mind, just as religious kooks have their freedoms too, if they're American.
It's been my long standing belief that if I'm going to acknowledge my rights as an American, and feel gratitude for them, then I've got to do the same for others.
But sometimes, sometimes...disgust flies in the face of American rights.