Linguistically The First Amendment is a) Religious Amendment and b) Would Not Privilege Erotic Images

By Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D.

Précis:  A linguistic study of the First Amendment’s finds its key task the protection of religious freedom, speech and assembly. Since Roth v. United States (1957), the Supreme Court has ruled that almost any image or expression is covered by the First Amendment. However, science now corroborates biblical admonitions – that is, if the free speech mission is to facilitate logical, cognitive thought, images, especially erotic images, are actually subversive of that mission. Many, perhaps most, Americans wish to stop filmmakers, television programs, schools, teachers, and organizations like SIECUS and Planned Parenthood from imposing pornographic stimuli, sights, and sensations upon their school children. On the evidence, such erotic media non-consensually alter immature brains, minds, bodies and in too many cases, their overt behaviors. Logically, the harms from such media/pedagogical sex frauds are statistically significantly greater than harms to children from tobacco. A linguistic analysis of the First Amendment finds the words “image,” and “expression” excluded from its protections. It is presumptuous and elitist in the extreme to think our highly educated, cultured, religious, and worldly Founders were ignorant of the idolatry inherent in images, especially erotic images, versus their commitment to protect the thought enabling power of “The Word.”

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Several recent reversals of established legal precedent adhere to Justice Antonin Scalia’s originalist legal philosophy. Of images he wrote, “[u]nder current doctrine, pornography may be banned only if it is ‘obscene,’. . . . a judicially crafted term of art. . . .” As in FCC v. Fox Television, it is time for the Court to return to the Founders’ semantically established intent. An analysis of the Bill of Rights finds images unprotected by the language of the First Amendment, with erotic images especially abhorrent to its intent. It is time to return also to President Lincoln’s 1865 postal act that stated “no obscene book, pamphlet, picture, print, other publication of a vulgar and indecent character, shall be admitted into the mails of the United States.” “Obscene” included “vulgar and indecent.” The bawdy French “picture postcards” Lincoln referenced were significantly less obscene than sex education materials pedagogues now retail to public, private and parochial schoolchildren. Fewer and fewer people read any longer, but get their ideas, and indeed the conduct they mimic, from images. Major legal reversals await a cadre of lawyers who, like our Founders, possess mental and moral metal and who now have the research to prove that our laws must reflect, as John Adams said, “a moral and religious people.”




John Adams wrote, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. . . the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.  And, again, our constitution is for “a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”* Arguably, each Amendment specifies a single subject, a single decree:

1) to religious exercise of speech, press, assembly and petition

2) to keep and bear arms

3) to home privacy except by law, in wartime

4) to refuse a search of person or property absent a legal warrant

5) to self defense in criminal proceedings

6) to a fair trial

7) to a jury trial in civil cases

8) to reasonable, unexcessive bail, fines, punishments

9) to consider other rights

10) to other unnamed but constitutionally specified rights

The syntactical evidence finds the First Amendment, like the others, to be a single decree. It requires free speech, a free press and assembly for all religions lest they need to petition the government for redress of grievances. As each Amendment is one subject, no syntactical analysis permits splitting the First into unrelated “clauses” each detached from the other. Such a reading requires historical naiveté and disregard for the religious freedom commitments of the Founders. Like the grammar of the other nine Amendments, the First is a cohesive subject, that of religious speech, press and assembly. The First does not ban non-religious speech, press and assembly; this was not the concern of the Founders. Since their laws were for a “moral and religious people” they would view political and social discourse, in which they regularly engaged, to be a given. Support for this morphological structure comes from Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia bill made law in 1786 and said to be the model for the US First Amendment ratified in 1791.

“WE, the General Assembly of Virginia, do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

“[A]ll men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. . . .” Had the Founders intended to separate religious freedom from free speech, press and assembly they would easily have split the “First” into four, five or six Amendments, each reasonably clarified as independent of religion. Instead, the Founders legislated the First as a Free Religious Speech Amendment, syntactically intact, conveying a solitary religious theme, linguistically connected – as one thesis. Religious speech, debate, expression would be privileged.

To partition the First Amendment – alleging each phrase free of the other – is unwarranted by its etymology, discussed below. Since the Founders held that good government requires virtuous men and that virtue depends on religious, indeed Christian faith, the “First Amendment” would protect all, even theist religious speech. This provision allows deists and theists to express their religious beliefs freely in print and assembly. Roth v United States (1957), saw the conversion of the First Amendment into a “Free Speech” Amendment, allowing the traffic in erotic images and text. A scholarly semantic analysis finds the First Amendment intent was instead to protect against any assaults on religious speech, press and expression.

Jefferson to Scalia to Ginsburg:  18th Century Meanings Apply to Today

Based on the Founders religious faith, crude or erotic “speech” would be blasphemous, such images, sacrilegious and all illegal. This is confirmed by analyzing the key works that shaped the Founders thoughts, debates and writings; Blackstone’s Law, The Common Law, The King James Bible, and Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of the English Language. Finally, the April 28, 2009 decision in FCC v. Fox Television Stations found the Supreme Court reinstating the Founders meaning of “freedom of speech.” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority that, “indecent. . . language. . . . expletives referring to sexual or excretory activity or organs” that “pander. . . . a coarse sexual image. . . . titillate. . . . vulgar. . . . shocking and gratuitous. . .” are banned, should children be exposed.  Why? “[C]hildren mimic the behavior they observe – or at least the behavior that is presented to them as normal and appropriate.”

Justice Scalia’s reference to “a coarse sexual image” is discussed further below. For now, note he again wrote for the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) defining “Arms.”

The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.)

Professor Jack Lynch reports that “the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers,” all relied on Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. George Washington’s signed copy survives; Franklin, Madison, Governor Morris and other Founders were Johnson aficionados and Thomas Jefferson opined that Johnson could “fix us in the principles and practices of virtue.” Furthermore, Justices Scalia Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, Clarence Thomas and former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist quote Samuel Johnson to prove that “during the time of the framing [enumerate] meant what it means today.”




Etymologically, words excluded from a dictionary reveal much about an era and a people. Just as words like “emanate,” “arms” “decency” and “virtue” mean today what they meant in the 18th Century, so too did “speech” mean “what it means today.”  Johnson and the Founders were commonly Latin and Greek literate.

A semantic analysis finds the known word “pornographos”  for the writing-drawing of prostitutes   missing from Johnson’s 1755 and Webster’s 1828 American dictionaries while prostitute and “obscene,” meaning “off stage” (Lt, ob = against, scaena, scene/stage) is defined in both. The semantic evidence, language analysis, confirms the Founders excluded known sexually evocative, on scene words like “pornographos” from their dictionaries, from their speech, and semantically thus from all legal protection or speech rights.

Moreover, discussed further below, while children and the unlettered cannot decode words, [speech] they do decode and mimic images. This includes “sexual or excretory activity or organs” when the “behavior they observe….[is] presented to them as normal and appropriate” in mainstream media and/or schoolrooms by state employed teachers. The current Supreme Court majority ruled with the Founders that words (that would include “religion,” “speech,” press, “expression” and “image”) mean today what they meant in Dr. Johnson’s dictionary.

Religion Virtue, as founded upon reverence of God, and expectations of future rewards and punishments….divine faith and worship, as opposite to others.

Speech (speak) the power of articulate utterance; the power of expressing thoughts; by words of vocal founds; language, dialect, words considered as expressing thoughts; particular language as distinct from others….anything spoken, oration, harangue, declamation; declaration of thoughts (Milton)

Press The instrument by which books are printed. . .

Expression. . . instructive expressions of speech. . . . for the communication of his thoughts. . . . enunciation; the form or mode of language in which any thoughts are uttered, a saying, a phrase, a mode of speech. . . [Emphasis added]

Image Any corporeal representation generally used of plates – a statue, a figure, an effigy; a picture; 2. An idol; a false god. . . [Emphasis added]

Again, semantically, “expression requires” enunciation of thoughts-articulate utterance, using vocal sounds, words, oratory (not drawings). “Image” is non-speech, even anti-speech as an idol or false god, in Johnson and also later in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

Erotic Images Are Decoded by Children & Illiterates, Hence Non-Speech, Anti-Speech

Again, a semantic, morphological analysis of words finds all images are non-speech, anti speech. “Justice Scalia wrote for the FCC majority that absent a “quantifiable measure of the harm caused by the language” the dirty “seven words” are still not “protected expression.” Why? Because these words “[p]ander. . . . a coarse sexual image” the idols, the false gods below that Johnson defines and that Biblical scholars document, as debasing the civil society. Pornographic images were fully available in the 18th Century. There is simply no evidence at all that the Founders ever meant such images or any images to be protected as “speech.”

The linguistic analysis is unequivocal. Johnson defines “speech” and “expression” as spoken thoughts. A taxonomical content analysis of the “Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 by United States Constitutional Convention” (below) is further grammatical evidence that Johnson meant what the Founders’ meant. Debaters did not silently distribute images to prove and win arguments. “Speech,” was written or oral utterances, “press” was a machine for printing, “express” and “expression” was an effort to find the right words. As is seen in the below taxonomical content analysis, “image” did not appear in the debates.




A Taxonomical Content Analysis of the Founders First Amendment, “Speech” Meaning

Word cited in Debates Number of references Text Examples
“Speech” 16 cites: The Founders only used “speech” as in written or oral utterances, words “a single speech,” insert his speech,” “this speech,” “the speech,” “Freedom of speech,” is privileged except for “treason felony and breach of the peace,” “speech freedom,”
“Press” 14 cites: noting a university press, free press, or to press an issue, etc. “Liberty of the Press,” “University Press,” “matters press” on the delegates.
“Express” 15 cites: The Founders used “express” as in seeking the right word to express an idea or emotion or as word choice. Madison says in his Preface, I must “express my profound and solemn conviction,” a delegate did “express a disapprobation,” another “express stipulation,” another did “express,” another “express provisions,” one would “express alarm” and the like.
“Expression” 17 cites: The Founders used “expression” as in a specific use of words A delegate said the “expression dropped from his lips,” change “the expression into these words,” note “a better expression of the idea,” or “the expression, ‘“duties;’” “the expression, ‘“the words”’ is often in footnotes to suggest using other words for the expression recorded.
“Image” No cites. No discussion of “image” or images in the debates.


Justice Scalia points out that “prayer has been a prominent part of governmental ceremonies and proclamations,” from our nation’s origin with the Bible the Founders “most frequently quoted source” between 1760 and 1805.

Historically aware of failed paganism, failed republics and fallen man, the Founders warned “images” auger false gods, debauchery, whoredom, and human sacrifice. The current, unchanged King James Bible just updates some archaic A.D. 1611 terms. The following summarizes a semantic measurement of key First Amendment KJB words.

KJB has roughly 185 “thou shalt not” make “IMAGES” cites such as:

“Numbers 33:52: Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures. . . . Deuteronomy 4:16: Lest ye corrupt [yourselves], and make you a graven IMAGE, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. . . . Deuteronomy 4:25: When thou shalt beget children. . . . corrupt [yourselves], and make a graven IMAGE, [or] the likeness of any [thing], and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger: Deuteronomy 5:8 Thou shalt not make thee [any] graven IMAGE, [or] any likeness. . . . Ezekiel 16:17 Thou hast. . . . madest to thyself images of men and didst commit whoredom with them.”

KJB has 626 cites to “SPEAK,” and 58 to “SPEECH,” such as:

“Exodus 20:19 And they said unto Moses, SPEAK thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God SPEAK with us, lest we die. Job 12:20 He removeth away the SPEECH of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. Job 21:2 Hear diligently my SPEECH, and let this be your consolations.”

KJB has 1,179 cites to “WORD,” and 89 to “WRITE,” such as:

“Genesis 30:34 Behold, I would it might be according to thy WORD. Exodus 4:28 Moses told Aaron all the WORDs of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.” [And] Deuteronomy 6:9 And thou shalt WRITE them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deuteronomy 27:8 And thou shalt WRITE upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly. Isaiah 10:1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that WRITE grievousness [which] they have prescribed.”




What does all this mean? Well, Plato said, “The poet clothes the deed” and John Locke wrote, “Logic is the anatomy of thought.” By excluding images from special speech protections, our literate, prescient Founders protected logical thought, debate and dialogue. The First Amendment thus could protect sacred, religious images as a free exercise of religion while leaving secularist, propagandistic images without special Constitutional protections and thus subject to laws enacted democratically. Had the First Amendment been understood as not protecting images as “speech,” it is highly doubtful that American legislators or judges would have voted to legalize any form of pornography.

The Constitution was structured to protect a thoughtful, virtuous Christian citizenry – one that allowed atheists and other faiths to enjoy its blessings. Ironically, the Founders used images as propaganda (emotionally arousal) and anti-speech (logical, rational) before, during, and after the American Revolution. In fact, over 140 propagandistic political, war images appeared nationwide from 1765 to 1782. The Founders deliberately produced these political engravings and cartoons to emotionally rouse the public for war! Ben Franklin’s famous May 1754 “Join or Die” woodcut of America as a snake severed into various provinces appeared in The Pennsylvania Gazette, copied and published nationwide. Paul Revere’s cartoon engraving of an America swallowing the bitter draught was in the Royal American Magazine, June 1774. His 1770 Boston Massacre print, “long on political propaganda and short on accuracy,” was “the first powerful influence in forming outspoken anti-British public opinion.” John Adams had to come to the defense of these visually slandered British soldiers.

Revere’s and similar Revolutionary war imagers were designed to exploit the public emotion. Paradoxically, their rabble-rousing effects supported Biblical warnings about the ability of emotional images to thwart logic and thought. These drawings find the Founders well aware that images uniquely attract and inflame the public. Again, a semantic analysis finds that had these religious, pious, prudent men believed in special class protections for images – having created such images themselves for the war effort – the Founders would have specified the need to include images as deserving of the same freedoms as speech. The facts are the opposite. For images are not speech.

All Bibles identify images with the irrational, with idols, whoredom, lawless sexual lust and social disaster. The four words; speech, press, expression, image, should be seen etymologically in that 18th-century context. Special protections for “speech” forged a Constitutional jurisprudence that privileged rational, cognitive discourse as against emotional expression, purging obscene or indecent images from First Amendment protections.

The Bible warns and modern brain scans prove Dr. Johnson’s definition that pictures “force the image….on the mind.” Force is the operative word. By appreciating and fearing the emotional and irrational arousal of images, these realistic, practical Founders could never have elevated  images to protection as a speech class.

Reversing Bad Laws Based On Bad Science; Seditious of Speech and Constitution

As in this World War II propaganda poster (left) the nature of images bestirs the emotions as desired. Justice Antonin Scalia informed this author that court decisions can be overturned should new facts prove a law was based on fraud. Joan Biskupic’s Scalia biography, American Original documents his “originalist” judicial philosophy as being used to increasingly reverse such bad laws. The judiciary may be progressively understanding that the First Amendment protects speech and press, “oral and written texts – not “’expressive conduct.’”

“[P]olitical speech. . . . is the primary concern of the First Amendment,” said Scalia. “[P]ublic indecency – including public nudity – has long been an offense at common law.” Semantically, pornography, erotic dancing, stripping, etc. are “non-verbal, visual, symbolic. . . expressions” seditious of rational thought and the cognitive, political mission of speech!


Art expert John Berger writes, “the child looks and recognizes before it can speak. . . seeing comes before words.” Linguistically, speech is “articulate utterance.” The Bible and our Founders recognized axiomatically what modern fMRI brain scans now confirm (left). While our left hemisphere slowly tries to decipher speech our right hemisphere is already aroused by an emotional image. Neurologist David Galin warned of the battle of our hemispheres, asking, “which hemisphere will. . . gain control of the shared functions and dominate overt behavior?”

Neuropsychologist A.R. Luria answers that the brain responds to “a law of strength” whereby biologically significant stimuli produce a strong response and weak stimuli a weak response: Obscene images are “biologically significant.” Says neurologist, Gary Lynch “an event which lasts half a second within five to ten minutes has produced a structural change that is in some ways as profound as the structural changes one sees in [brain] damage. . . [and] can. . . leave a trace that will last for years.

Although obscene “fleeting” words can indeed arouse an image memory of obscene acts, profound neurological change is unlikely via speech. Words alone can rarely cause such neurochemical changes in the human brain, Again, images are non-speech, anti-speech. Children and illiterates easily decode and identify with most images, even experiencing traumatic arousal by sexual and/or violent images when the child is wholly unaware of its full implications. That is, children commonly interpret copulation scenes as violent, as abuse (normally) of a female consenting partner by the adult male. While the small child decodes, experiences, images, but not text, words, speech, the older child of course can also imagine the act via the “fleeting” obscene word.

No one can give informed consent to erotic or sadosexual images if they are unaware of the brain changes and the fallout from those images embedded in-the-brain. Children especially cannot give informed consent to solicited or unsolicited erotic speech or images, all of which, are documented as leading “to a cascade of changes in the body that have an impact on health. . . on the immune system.  World renowned brain expert, Richard Restak explains inhibition rather than excitation is the hallmark of the healthy brain,” and Science magazine agrees that “too much neuronal activity can be as bad as too little,” too much producing “a runaway spree of neural firing.”  Misreading the First Amendment as protecting erotic images has led to serious problems. Says neurologist Paul MacLean, we are designed to believe what our eyes see.

When nature gave man the prefrontal neocortex for anticipation and connected it with his cortical areas, she failed to provide a radar antenna and viewing screen. . . . a mere phantom is sometimes sufficient to trigger the entire copulatory act.


As noted in the beginning of this essay, the Supreme Court ruled in concert with the Founders, that to broadcast a fleeting indecent word is illicit. Despite this new ruling, multiple media outlets regularly broadcast fleeting indecent scenes to billions of children and adults. Also, due to our loosened Kinseyan-based sex laws, millions of schoolchildren are nonconsensually disinhibited via copycat “erotic” propaganda, “presented to them as normal and appropriate.” Kinseyan-trained sex educators have forced millions of schoolchildren to read, repeat and view “dirty” words, commonly demonstrated by cartooned images.

For example, a popular “health” book translated into 30 languages includes pornographic drawings of children. It’s Perfectly Normal (1994, 2004), like hundreds of similar sex-ed texts uses cartoons to illustrate scores of sex acts, with children engaged in solo, pre-marital, hetero, homo, sodomy, etc., sex acts – and text saying these behaviors are equal and positive.

The Sex Information and Educational Council of the US, and Planned Parenthood trained “sexology” sexperts have taught these health frauds to millions of children since the late 1960s. The results of this school miseducation, also distributed via the mass media, has been pandemic promiscuity, depression, STDs, unwed pregnancies aborted or birthed, rape, child sex abuse, bi/homosexual experimentation, drug and alcohol abuse, impotence, sex addictions, suicidal ideation, suicide, and other widespread disorders.




A linguistic study of the our founding documents finds the First Amendment  protective of religious freedom, speech and assembly while science now recognizes what was understood since biblical times, that images are actually subversive of the speech mission, that of logical, cognitive thought. Many parents and citizens have wanted to sue schools and teachers, SIECUS and Planned Parenthood for forcing Kinseyan-pornographic frauds, sights, and sensations upon their children, altering their brains, minds, bodies and behaviors. Logically, the harms from such school teacher sex frauds are statistically significantly greater than harms to children from tobacco. A linguistic analysis finds the deliberate exclusion of “image,” and “expression” from First Amendment shelter. It is presumptuous and elitist in the extreme to think our highly educated, cultured and worldly Founders were ignorant of the idolatry inherent in images, especially erotic images, versus the thought provoking power of “The Word.”

Several recent reversals of established legal precedent concede to Justice Scalia’s originalist legal philosophy. Of images he wrote, “[u]nder current doctrine, pornography may be banned only if it is ‘obscene,’. . . . a judicially crafted term of art. . . .” As in FCC v. Fox Television, it is time for the Court to return to the Founders’ semantically established intent. Images are not protected by the religious language of the First Amendment, and erotic images are especially abhorrent to the intent of that Amendment. It is time to return also to President Lincoln’s understanding when he signed the 1865 postal act. It stated “no obscene book, pamphlet, picture, print, other publication of a vulgar and indecent character, shall be admitted into the mails of the United States.” “Obscene” included “vulgar and indecent.” If memory serves, the bawdy French “picture postcards,” to which Lincoln referred were significantly less obscene than current sex education pamphlets educators now retail to public, private and parochial schoolchildren. Fewer and fewer people read any longer, but get their ideas, and indeed the conduct they mimic, from images. Major legal reversals await a cadre of lawyers who possess the mental and moral metal of our Founders, lawyers who have the research and common sense to prove that our laws must support “a moral and religious people” or we will all lose our republic.

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