• Ensures the right to pray individually or in groups in private or public places, as long as the prayer does not disturb the peace or disrupt a meeting
• Prohibits the state from coercing religious activity.
• Protects the right to pray on government property.
• Protects the right of legislative bodies to sponsor prayers and invocations.
• Says students need not take part in assignments or presentations that violate their religious beliefs
The most incredible (and therefore newsworthy) thing about this referendum, is that it passed by a 5 to 1 margin! You heard that correctly, 5 to 1, i.e. 83% for those of you educated in government schools. You can’t even get a vote for Motherhood to pass by that big of a majority these days. Apparently, Missourians are fed up with the constant court battles being waged by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State every time someone says “God Bless You” after a sneeze, let alone commit the capital offense of praying.
The truth is, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was never intended to remove any semblance of religion from the public life, although the above organizations have certainly tried. The Supreme Court got it wrong in 1962 (Engel v. Vitale), and courts have been getting it wrong ever since, because they have relied on a false premise – that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” meant anything more than a prohibition against a state sponsored religion. In the process, the courts have ignored the following phrase, “nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Amendment 2 rights this wrong and frees Missourians to exercise their beliefs without the usual intimidation tactics the left uses to silence people of faith.
But haven’t similar state statutes been shot down as unconstitutional? The key word here is “similar.” Some previous state statutes were modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was ruled unconstitutional as applied to the states, but remains in effect as federal law. Ironically, some state statutes that used the same language as the federal law were ruled unconstitutional, even though the federal law is valid. Once again, the courts have gotten it wrong. However, the encouraging thing about Missouri’s Amendment 2 is that it wasn’t worded like the federal statute, and does not provide overbroad protections that invalidated other such laws. And more importantly, unlike those state laws passed as a knee-jerk reaction to Supreme Court rulings two decades ago (City of Boerne v. Flores), it was passed in an era where states are beginning to re-exercise their own state sovereignty. This is an important point. As evidenced by the 83% approval in Missouri, citizens are fed up with federal overreach into their lives, and are fighting back. The Tea Party and Sovereign State movement is not dead, but alive and well. We are a nation of states – states that are determined to take power back that has been unconstitutionally usurped by Washington. Understand that it is significant that this happened in Missouri, a state considered a toss-up state in the November presidential election, not Montana or Oklahoma or Texas. However, this is the Show Me state, the birthplace of Rush Limbaugh. If a court strikes down this law, I would hope that citizens and their legislators will ignore that ruling as well as other rulings (See Obamacare) that we, the people, overwhelmingly oppose. The first defense against unjust laws has always been civil disobedience (See Civil Rights Movement, circa the sixties). Missourians, you did good! Don’t back off!