Say what? I thought we already had the right to pray.

My fellow Missourians overwhelmingly passed a “Right to Pray” amendment yesterday, and God help ‘em.

You can read more about the legislation — which among other things allows students to skip any part of a lesson they believe violates their religious beliefs — here or here. Perhaps you can see some problems with such legislation. I certainly can. Sad that the entire language of the bill wasn’t included on the ballot. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The ballot did not mention language in the amendment allowing students to refuse to participate in school assignments that violate religious beliefs, or ensuring elected officials the right to pray on government property.

“This was misleading in its presentation and possibly unconstitutional in its application, so now we’re headed for the courts,” said Karen Aroesty of the Anti-Defamation League of Missouri and Southern Illinois. “We’ll let the next branch of the democratic process do its part, and I suspect a case will be on file pretty soon.”

Critics have warned the amendment will indeed open the door to taxpayer-funded lawsuits.

“This is going to be a nightmare for school districts, which will end up getting sued by individuals on both sides of church-state debate,” said Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “This is the most far-out constitutional amendment we’ve seen in the church-state area.”

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10 responses to “Say what? I thought we already had the right to pray.

  1. “Please excuse Johnny from algebra class, as our religious beliefs are opposed to non-Christian religions, and algebra was invented by godless Arabs.”

    It would be funny, if none of these kids ever left the South, but I just know that one of them is going to be working in my nursing home someday.

    • What a sad and cogent point. If I have the capacity, I shall try to be assigned to your hallway so that we can each pluck one another’s chin hairs.

  2. Hmm. Can the Druids refrain from botany dissection? Do Muslims get credit for refusing to dissect pigs? Or refusing to read a book by C.S. Lewis? Or does that only refer to Christian right of refusal? I hope every non-Christian invokes utter, unlivable chaos from it, nitpicking every word until the system grinds to a halt.

  3. Seriously, what gets into people to make them think this is a valuable use of legislator-time? And is it just “well, if I don’t go along with this, they’ll call me a heathen?”

  4. I’m wondering how atheists and agnostics fit into the equation here.
    Can they skip assignments that they feel promote religious beliefs?
    And if the religious need a special law to guarantee their “right to pray,” shouldn’t atheists and agnostics get one to protect their “right not to pray.” (That sound your hear is Antonin’s briefs getting bunched.)

  5. “The amendment’s backers say it helps protect Missouri’s Christians, about 80 percent of the population, who say they are public targets.”

    WTF???!!!???? And exactly how are Christians “public targets??!!!??”

    Oh, I get it. Make them THINK they are oppressed, and then you can get them fired up to do your bidding. Somebody is REALLY smart here. This looks like a Karl Rove kind of move.

    It’s like the Tea Partiers, who claim that their rights are being removed, but are unable to name a single right that has been infringed.

    I hate to say it, but are Christians who feel they are being discriminated against simply gullible and incredibly stupid?

    • “Oh, I get it. Make them THINK they are oppressed, and then you can get them fired up to do your bidding.”

      Like all the poor oppressed white males.

  6. The people who initiated this foolishness knew it would create another burden for the public school system. I wonder whether they focused on that in their private discussions.

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