Only 30 Percent of Students Aware of Freedom of Religion Under Constitution

( [email protected] ) Dec 25, 2003 10:28 AM EST

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announces that college students fewer than 1 out of 3 students know about the Bill of Rights and that freedom of religion is protected under the First Amendment.

The First Amendment guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, assembly and redress of grievances.

"One out of every four undergraduates is unable to mention any of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment," said Thor Halvorsen, FIRE's chief executive officer.

Specifically, he added, only 30 percent of students surveyed could name freedom of religion as one of those rights. The results for the college administrators were worse – only 21 percent of them knew it.

"This certainly explains," Halvorssen said, "why we receive so many cases involving the violation of freedom of conscience, voluntary-association rights and religious liberty of Christian student organizations on campuses across the country."

Attorney Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund thinks of legal action as the best way to educate a university has fought against the U.S. Supreme Court many times.

"The universities in a lot of ways are becoming enclaves of authoritarianism, because the students don't know their rights and the administrators don't know them, either," he said. "The kinds of cases that the Alliance Defense Fund is doing demonstrate that the college administrators are so ignorant about the First Amendment that they're more concerned about being politically correct than constitutionally correct."