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.”