Friday, February 15, 2008

Missouri Constitutional Amendment On Religion Debated

Yesterday, the Missouri House of Representatives debated HJR 55, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would add 300 words spelling out free exercise and establishment clause rights more explicitly. Prime Buzz yesterday reported on the debate. The sponsor of the proposal, Rep. Mike McGhee, said the amendment-- which would go to the voters in November-- would clarify the law by emphasizing the rights of citizens and school children to pray in public. Democrats argued that the proposal was merely an attempt to get more conservatives to the polls in November and urged instead that it be placed on the August primary ballot. That alternative was defeated 85-65 in a party-line vote. Then Rep. Jonas Hughes, a Kansas City Democrat, proposed an amendment stating that the right to acknowledge God in public includes "the Saints or the Virgin Mary." That was defeated 111-38. Further action by the House on the proposed constitutional amendment is expected next Monday.