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Public Prayer: Should Missouri Voters OK This Measure?

Missourians will vote Aug. 7 on a constitutional amendment affirming the right to pray in public places.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced that voters will decide on Aug. 7 on a constitutional amendment affirming the right to pray in public places.

The summary of the measure on the Missouri House of Representatives website says it "proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a citizen's right to pray and worship on public property and reaffirming a citizen's right to choose any or no religion."

In its summary of the story, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its Political Fix blog that the timing has interesting political ramifications.

As reporter Virginia Young wrote:

The measure is likely to draw social conservatives to the polls. So from a political standpoint, it stands to reason that Nixon, a Democrat, would want to get it out of the way in August, when parties are choosing their nominees, rather than in the general election pitting Democrats against Republicans.

The measure's sponsor, Rep. Mike McGhee (R-Dist. 122), said some "school children are being targeted for professing their religious beliefs."

The language of the ballot measure will read as follows: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed; that school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and that all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution."

Does Missouri need a measure like this? Do you think there were political motivations behind the timing of the vote, by eliminating a reason for conservatives to show up in the general election? How would you vote on such a measure?

Barbara Dunnermann July 03, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Earl, you have got to be kidding me! How out of the loop are you? So many of these cases and the resulting decisions have been made public on the news in the main-stream media! Of coursel, those stories are in the past. So how about going to ACLU's web site and reading their mission statement. Also you might want to go to some of the religious and/or conservative web sites and access their archives on the subject. And, if I am not mistaken, you can access Supreme Court decisions on line as well. So educate yourself!
Barbara Dunnermann July 03, 2012 at 06:13 AM
Terri, I, too, am Catholic and pray in public...quietly. Perhaps our praying pricks their conscience. And so they attack.
Barbara Dunnermann July 03, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Yes, freedom of religion is already our right and there are those who wish to take that freedom from us. But if we are going to go after those who are denying our freedom, shouldn't we identify who 'those' are? Start with the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, a misnomer because they are not really FOR civil liberties as is evident in the targets of their law suits. Their main target is Christianity.
Earl Higgins July 03, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Barbara, again, I am pleading with you, ONE SINGLE CASE! It couldn't be easier, that's all I'm asking for! Sorry but your answer "so many of these cases" just doesn't cut it. Seriously, your extraordinary claims require proof! The fact that you have been unable to do so raises serious questions of credibility.
Karl Frank Jr. July 03, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence...
Earl Higgins July 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Barbara, since you obviously didn't do so, I looked up the ACLU's mission. It is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Now Barbara, I find nothing anti-religious in that. Tell me, what on earth are you talking about?
Earl Higgins July 05, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Thanks for restoring a level of sanity to this thread, Bart!
Earl Higgins July 06, 2012 at 07:53 PM
If you think this is a good idea, read this: http://i.imgur.com/ODLOi.jpg . Comments?
Hanna July 08, 2012 at 01:06 AM
State Reps only look at their own narrow viewed agenda. See below from the State of MO . Public schools will be holding worship assemby during school. Upon voter approval, this admendment guarantees a citizen's right to pray and worship in all public areas including schools as long as the activities are voluntary and subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all other types of speech. A citizen's right to choose any religion or no religion at all is reaffirmed by prohibiting the state or any of its political subdivisions from establishing an official state religion and from coercing any person to participate in any prayer or other religious activity. The resolution also reaffirms the right of employees and elected officials of the State of Missouri to pray on government premises and public property and ensures the General Assembly and other political subdivisions the right to have ministers and clergymen offer prayers or invocations at meetings or sessions of the General Assembly or governing bodies. Students are allowed to express their religious beliefs in assignments free from discrimination and cannot be compelled to participate in assignments that violate their beliefs. Public schools receiving state funds are required to display the text of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States in a conspicuous and legible manner.
Hanna July 08, 2012 at 01:23 AM
One more thing. I hope voters will read the original constitution section in addition to this admendment to really understand what they are voting for. Don't let your emotion regarding "religious freedom" guide your vote. You may not get what you expect. As for me and my family, I am voting NO to this admendment. This past session from the House of Representatives has been a do-nothing. I expect worse results this coming fall.
Reality Thug July 08, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Feel free to believe in a 2000 year old book of fables with numerious contradictions and factual errors. Praise Buddha, Allah or whoever. Everyone should be free to worship who they want. I still think this God fella probably likes an Athiest who treats people with dignity, kidness and respect to a "devout christian" who is a real jerk to his fellow man. Just saying.
Average Jane July 19, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Just vote NO. Why legalize something that is guaranteed by the U.S. constitution.? for the pros & cons: http://www.ballotpedia.com/wiki/index.php/Missouri_Public_Prayer_Amendment_(2012) A "no" vote will not change the current constitutional provisions protecting freedom of religion.
Average Jane July 20, 2012 at 12:14 AM
As a humanist, I respect ALL people & their beliefs. As long as their beliefs are ethical. www.ethicallife.org
Don Stuerke August 01, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Finally, a rational comment with some meaningful content. Thank you Ed!
Donna Fox August 01, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Would it be too ironic to respond with a hearty "amen!"? I completely agree, Mr. Wright. Thank you.
Larry Lazar August 01, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Agreed as well. Thank you Ed.
Donna Fox August 01, 2012 at 06:53 PM
BTW, the seance is not part of Wiccan practice or ceremonies. Otherwise, your statement is right on. Religion is not a synonym for Christianity.
Rahib August 02, 2012 at 02:42 PM
We have enough freedom of religion. We need more freedom from religion. You can pray in your home or in your church. That's enough already.
Rahib August 02, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Freedom from religion is infringed when people pray in public. They can pray in their homes or churches. Isn't that enough?
Earl Higgins August 07, 2012 at 01:22 PM
People, please please, if you are really against big government, you must vote against this completely silly and unnecessary amendment to the Constitution. Everything that is in the amendment is already enshrined in law, the amendment is just silly political pandering and fear mongering. Today is the day to put up or shut up-say no to wasteful, unnecessary government expenditures.
Ed Taylor August 07, 2012 at 03:21 PM
These lines worry me: "that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs;" (from http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2012ballot/fulltext_1.pdf)
Christine Stewart Mehigh August 07, 2012 at 03:23 PM
This amendment will allow any student to opt out of any assignment that they feel contradicts their religious beliefs. So since evolution is the cornerstone theory of biological science, does this mean that a student can then opt out of anything taught in that required class for graduation? I can just see the lawyers lining up for this one. I just returned from voting "NO" on this unnecessary amendment.
Mike K August 08, 2012 at 12:11 PM
This is so awesome. Now I can insist my daughters to wear the full hijab coverings and my Sikh neighbor's boys can wear their turbans to school and the school can't do jack to them or you taxpayers will be giving me a big fat check from the lawsuit. That I will promptly send to build a fabulous mosque along 'Church Row' on 40 West of 270. Praise Allah, He truly works in mysterious ways.
Christina August 08, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Mike - students are allowed to wear their religious head coverings without any issues. Have been allowed for at least the last 8 years that I've been in the district.
CJ August 08, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I too voted yes on this while wondering why it was necessary to be voting on this matter at all. Politicians and society has jaded me so that I have to wonder what the agenda was behind this. I fear it was not to protect our Christian American Traditions but I suppose we will have to wait and see. God Bless!
Jeannine August 08, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I agree Ed. I am concerned. I remember in public high school a kid saying she was a witch and had drawings of demons etc. she carried around with her. I found it confusing/disturbing at the time. I am Christian but is society ready for people like this to say they have rights in the classroom to honor their god?
Jeannine August 08, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Perfect Pat.
James name August 08, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Kids are already allowed to pray in school and people are allowed to pray in public all you have to do is close your eyes for a few seconds and think the words you want to sau to g-d want this law is really about is making sure that hospitals and places like them dont have to give their female workers birth control
James name August 08, 2012 at 01:59 PM
*what this law
Earl Higgins April 26, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Barbara, "you have got to be kidding me" and "go look it up yourself" ARE NOT ANSWERS to the questions I have posed. For like the umpteenth time, do you have any evidence whatsoever to support your outrageous claim? If not, then just stop wasting everyone's time.

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