TAKE ACTION: Vote NO on Missouri's “Public Prayer Amendment” Tuesday August 7th
Tuesday, Missourians will go to the polls to cast ballots for several amendments and primary races. No matter who you are voting for, it’s imperative you get to the polls to vote down one initiative up for consideration: Amendment 2, the so-called “Public Prayer Amendment”.
The Public Prayer Amendment attempts to mislead voters by claiming to protect religious freedom in public schools. In reality, if passed, the vague wording of the amendment has the ability to institute a slew of religious privileges , that could include everything from school-sponsored prayer to exemptions from school assignments for religious students.
Proponents of the amendment claim it’s necessary to protect religious freedom. But religious discussion and prayer are already protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by Article 1 section 5 of the Missouri state Constitution.
This amendment reads that citizens have an "indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences” and that “no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience." While the First Amendment to the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion, it does not exempt Americans from following the laws of our nation. However, the wording of this amendment could allow precisely that.
If passed, Amendment 2 could:
·Create an opening for sectarian prayer at school board meetings and other unconstitutional settings. Current law allows legislative sessions to open with prayer under narrow circumstances, but Amendment 2 ignores all discretion and would allow a commingling of religion and government.
·Directly violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by allowing government employees to openly pray while performing their duties. A government employee’s actions are an extension of the state, and the First Amendment prohibits an establishment of religion by the government.
·Create a series of privileges and educational loopholes for students who claim their homework assignments and/or classes conflict with their religious beliefs.
Furthermore, due to the vague wording of the amendment, and inconsistencies with federal law, if this amendment is approved the taxpayers of Missouri will bear the cost of millions of dollars in litigation.
Amendment 2 will make unnecessary changes to the Missouri state Constitution and cause harm to Missouri’s public education system by expanding the role of religion in the public sphere and jeopardizing established First Amendment protections.
The Secular Coalition for America urges you to vote “no” on Amendment 2.