Speaking as Friends: Freedom of Association as the Peak of the First Amendment and the Foundation of Civil Society
Kyle Washut, Instructor of Theology
While freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and even freedom of the press are much discussed freedoms of the first amendment, the right to free assembly is often forgotten in the public mind. As pressures mount to force associations to be sufficiently inclusive of various identities and positions, the vibrant life that free association offers to civil society is being slowly smothered. Correctly considered, freedom of association is the right whereby men gather in community to speak freely with each other and lay claim to the public square in so doing. Such association is the very source of healthy democratic life, and it is essential in order to allow freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to petition their full force.