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Can you recite the first 10 words of the First Amendment?

When Lake Oswego author Barry Adamson, a UCLA School of Law graduate, was asked that question he was sobered by the fact that he could not, and in fact, since law school hadn't given it any thought.

Darrell Scott had posed the question, three years after the Columbine High School incident. Scott's daughter Rachel was one of the first students to be killed in the Columbine incident. Scott, appalled at the extent to which the nation's public schools scorn the values and principles held dear by our nation's founders, believed that the education system's relentless disdain for those values and principles would inevitably yield generations of moral monsters who would perpetuate even worse incidents.

Humbled by the experience, Adamson began to research the origin, purpose and meaning of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, ('Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...') adopted in 1789 in response to demands for guarantees of religious liberty. Reading what the Court had to say about it would not suffice; he had to dig deeper.

The result of his research is his book 'Freedom of Religion the First Amend-ment and the Supreme Court, How the Court Flunked History.'

As a result of his research, Adamson contends a re-examination of the amendment and its clear meaning is in order.

Adamson also discovered that most volumes written on the subject have not been written with the layperson in mind. The average reader cannot locate a straightforward, objective, accurate and thorough historical chronicle of the Establishment Clause within a local bookstore or library.

Adamson's book is an evenhanded, 'let the answers fall where they may' for all Americans who thirst for an objective account of the historical origins of the phrase 'establishment of religion' and what the first Congress meant when it added the First Amendment's Establishment Clause to the Bill of Rights.

The book is available at national booksellers such as Borders, Barnes and Noble, Powells and online at

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