Vote 'no' on Missouri constitutional change
The Kansas City Star
Let us pray for the Missouri Constitution. Its burdens are heavy indeed.
Though adopted in its current version in 1945, it is eight times longer than the U.S. Constitution. It is weighed down with hundreds of amendments, many of them irrelevant to the lives of Missourians.
Now comes Constitutional Amendment 2, which voters will find on the Aug. 7 ballot. Among other things, it guarantees that schoolchildren “have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools.”
Schoolchildren already have that right, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. But Missouri lawmakers, as a group, distrust how the federal courts might interpret that document.
Amendment 2 specifies that the state shall not establish any official religion nor infringe on the rights of Missourians to express their religious beliefs. None of that has been going on, and it isn’t permitted under the U.S. Constitution. Also, the Missouri Constitution already says citizens have the “right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience.”
The only provision that will have much of an impact is the dictate that all public schools must display the Bill of Rights.
Some groups concerned with religious freedom are arguing that the language in Amendment 2 is too broad and could lead to court challenges.
Our main objection is that this amendment simply isn’t needed. It doesn’t do anything.
Based on the past success of similar measures, Amendment 2 is likely to pass easily. Still, the Missouri Constitution isn’t meant to be a holding ground for political statements or redundant amendments. For that reason we recommend no on this ballot question, even if it hasn’t a prayer of being voted down.