The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 29, 2012

Our View: Public prayer amendment

Voters will see a ballot initiative appear on August’s ballot with the purpose of reinforcing one’s right to pray in public places.

Called the Missouri Public Prayer Amendment, the proposal also would require all public schools in the state to display the Bill of Rights.

Sponsored by State Rep. Mike McGhee, R-Odessa, the constitutional amendment would guarantee the freedom to express religious beliefs and for children voluntarily to be able to acknowledge God and pray at school.

It reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

• That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;

• That schoolchildren have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and

• That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

According to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, it is estimated that this proposal will result in little to no costs or savings for state and local governmental entities. However, it did cost the taxpayers about $250,000 to place it on the ballot.

The fair ballot language reads:

• A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to provide that neither the state nor political subdivisions shall establish any official religion. The amendment further provides that a citizen's right to express their religious beliefs regardless of their religion shall not be infringed and that the right to worship includes prayer in private or public settings, on government premises, on public property, and in all public schools. The amendment also requires public schools to display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

• A “no” vote will not change the current constitutional provisions protecting freedom of religion.

Ron Lankford, deputy commissioner for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and a former longtime Webb City Schools superintendent, said schools have the same rights now as those proposed through the Missouri Public Prayer Amendment.

“That right is already protected for students,” Lankford told the Globe.

Like Lankford and other school superintendents we contacted, we believe the right to do the things listed in the ballot initiative already exists, but it does give those voters who choose to do so an opportunity to send the message that religious freedoms, for all people, of all faiths, are important.

Text Only
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

     View Results
NDN Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp