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Editorial: Right to pray

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A ballot initiative to appear on August's ballot aims to preserve the U.S. Constitutional right to pray in public places.

It reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

n That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;

n That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and

n That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

It is estimated this proposal will result in little or no costs or savings for state and local governmental entities.

The fair ballot language reads:

* A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that neither the state nor political subdivisions shall establish any official religion. The amendment further provides that a citizen's right to express their religious beliefs regardless of their religion shall not be infringed and that the right to worship includes prayer in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools. The amendment also requires public schools to display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

* A "no" vote will not change the current constitutional provisions protecting freedom of religion.

The initiative could be looked at a number of ways. It could be looked at as exactly what it says it is, an initiative to protect public prayer and giving further shielding of such expressions against lawsuits. In Southeast Missouri, several government bodies have public prayers before meetings; prayers are offered before special events such as public school graduations and other gatherings of students at schools. Such expressions have been challenged across the country in recent years by activists who believe separation of church and state should prevail.

Some have speculated that this ballot initiative was put to voters for political reasons in attempt to get more conservative voters to the polls in November. The Democratic governor thought it was important enough to move up to August.

While some say the Missouri amendment can protect rights, others say it could actually lead to more problems, such as disruptions, because the amendment does not define what constitutes a religious belief. And some say the amendment is just not necessary because it only reaffirms liberties already established.

It's fairly safe to say that this ballot initiative wasn't necessary. We generally favor the initiative because our religious freedoms are a cornerstone to this country. An affirmative vote is a signal to our leaders that this freedom is worth preserving.

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its really a shame when we need to vote to keep GOD in our lives,but we allow gays in our military,to have rights,and marry,this is 1 big thing thats destroying america,along with haveing moslems praying at the what used to be the white house,and beer parties,hes a disgrace to what our values are as well,but consider the source,hes a moslem.gay supporting,non american,and needs to be impeached on every level.

-- Posted by gr8stmo on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 9:00 AM

Sadly, an affirmative vote is also a signal to our Republican legislators that the voters are every bit as gullible as they think we are. This is NOT a ballot initiative, this is a Joint Resolution adopted by the Missouri General Assembly purely for the purpose of getting the Republican voters to the polls in the belief that conservatives are the only ones who care about religious freedom, and in the belief that conservatives are also gullible enough to believe a "Yes" vote changes anything other than mandating the display of the Bill of Rights in public schools. Of course you should vote for this Resolution, but wouldn't it be nice to send a signal to our elected "representatives" to stop wasting time on party-politics and start solving problems.

-- Posted by SPSLE on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 9:01 AM

Resolution, but wouldn't it be nice to send a signal to our elected "representatives" to stop wasting time on party-politics and start solving problems. -- Posted by SPSLE on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 9:01 AM

I agree - the US Senate run by democrats refuses to take a single vote on a budget for the country. All because it would embarrass president Obama. The politics they are playing while Obama runs up $5 TRillion in debt - with no budget - is sad. Send them a message in November. We can start with Claire McCaskill.

-- Posted by Dug on Sun, Jul 22, 2012, at 11:08 AM

This is what happens in a DEMOCRACY. Get involved, get out and vote, call officials and get with it!! You want God back, then do something about it and stop letting the other guy do it, and stop opining about it on a blog!

-- Posted by vietnamvet on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 1:56 PM

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