Missouri voters Tuesday appear to have overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment that supporters said will protect religious freedom.
The measure — Amendment 2 — says Missourians’ right to express religious beliefs can’t be infringed. It protects voluntary prayer in schools and requires public schools to display a copy of the Bill of Rights.
With 56 percent of precincts counted, 504,184 voted yes on the measure, while 77,254 voted no, nearly a 7-1 margin. A simple majority was needed for passage.
Alex Luchenitser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington D.C.-based group opposing the amendment, said he was disappointed but not surprised at the vote.
“This amendment promotes unconstitutional conduct,” he said. “It’s going to result in a whole lot of litigation.”Any immediate impact of the amendment, which takes effect in 30 days, is still unclear. The new amendment broadly expands the protections in the state’s constitution by adding new sections on religious issues.
As we’ve mentioned before, the so-called “right to pray amendment” sets forth two types of propositions: Those already guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and therefore unnecessary; and those which violate the US Constitution and will result in litigation.
For example, public employees are guaranteed the right to pray in any situation, on government property, if free speech protections are appropriate. This could very quickly lead to managers opening staff meetings with prayers to Allah, or readings from the Qur’an.
Students are exempted from assignments and presentations which conflict with their religious beliefs. How many teens will discover Pastafarianism right after this law goes into effect, and turn in biology and geology assignments which ignore the science they are supposed to be learning, and instead describe creation according to their religion?
They could also pick Jainism, Hinduism, or Buddhism!
In fact, I’d encourage students to do exactly that, and show the voters what it was they really voted for. What other fun ideas can you think of?
While North Dakotans voted “no” on a two-to-one margin, Missourians have cast aside their “show me” reputation, swallowing this pack of anti-American lies hook, line, and sinker. The religious right is cheering tonight, but how pleased will they be when Muslim public employees start praying at work five times a day, or Muslim students disrupting classes to pray?
Morning Read for May 22, 2013: General
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