Written by James Madison, the First Amendment guarantees basic freedoms and is the root of disagreements over church-state issues involving the complicated relationship between the government and religious organizations. It went into effect with the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, 1791. It states, “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.” See Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause.
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