Missouri "right to pray" amendment

DrB-

I got a comment on my original entry over Missouri’s “Right to Pray” amendment, sending me over to a website in favor of the amendment.

I’ve taken to asking people “Do you consider this your best and most relevant argument in favor of your position?” when it comes to these types of things, it appears that the pdf linked below is their “reasoning” for why Missouri needs this.

I want to be sure they’re presenting their #1 argument, and that if it was shown false, they would change their mind. The argument is made by “The Missouri Family Network”, and the pdf is here, and……..it’s comedy gold. If not for the “True Believer(TM)” nature of the page, I’d suspect a poe.

Literally, their first sentences:

From preschool and kindergarten through high school graduation and their commencement exercises, students are told repeatedly that they cannot pray or otherwise exercise religious expressions because they are in a government institution. Meanwhile programs such as Rally Around the Flag Pole helps to support and encourage student led Christian prayer and fellowship. Yet anything further than the most remote expressions are suppressed even though they are actually legal.

Sentence 1: Christian students are oppressed! They’re constantly told they can’t pray!

Sentence 2: Except for the multiple well-funded, and highly organized groups that do actively promote Christian students.

Sentence 3: Ok, but no seriously, those actively publicized and well-organized events that occur every year are “remote!”

 

It goes on,

While the U.S Congress and the Missouri House and Senate chambers are all opened each and every day with Christian prayers, local city and county governments are regularly harassed and intimidated into not allowing such prayers. Organizations such as the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as well as other such anti-Christian groups actively watch for opportunities to threaten expensive lawsuits to stop Christian prayers in public places and meetings.

Note the tone and source of their frustration here. It’s clearly the ACLU or other legal groups that sue to have existing laws enforced that are the problem. It’s not the decades of legal precedent and consistent rulings by judges that are the issue. No…it’s those awful “atheists” who keep pointing out that laws are being broken.

Those lawsuits are expensive, aren’t they? I have a free tip to help schools save money: STOP BREAKING THE LAW.

They don’t even contend the bill is necessary,

Missouri’s Prayer Amendment, Constitutional Amendment 2, defines the legal parameters for those who wish to utilize their First Amendment rights of free speech and religious expression outside the four walls of their homes and churches. The proposal creates no new rights, but it does clearly define the rights which most people have no idea even exist.

Here, we agree. It’s unnecessary, the first amendment clearly already gives these rights. Students can pray all they like. No one stops them. Can you pray in class? Sure, have at it. Can you disrupt class with your praying? No, you can’t. It’s not that hard.

Can teachers or other administrators proselytize from the chalkboard? NO. That’s the line in the law, it’s not that hard.

The vast majority of situations in which religious free expression is suppressed occurs in government institutional settings such as schools and local government venues. For fear of offending someone and/or violating some imaginary separation of church and state, government institutions use our tax dollars to hire attorneys to tell citizens what not to do. As conflicts arise (due to common place ignorance of the law) individual citizens find themselves facing the overwhelming odds of government institutions and lawyers authoritatively telling them how they cannot pray.

This is the theme of their entire argument. An imaginary lawyer or “official” is coming down on the poor defenseless citizen and stopping them from praying. Ripping the prayer right out of their mouth. Again, they like to say the problem is some unnamed, undoubtedly evil mustache twirling lawyer. They can’t admit that lawyers are just the agents that bring issues to the court. A judge is the one who makes the legally binding decision; and somehow every time the issue of state sponsored prayer comes up, those judges keep finding that “imaginary” wall of separation.

Every.

Single.

Time.

Luckily, the “Missouri Family Network” is here to demonstrate their vast knowledge of legal issues.

 

 

 

 

 

More,

To make matters worse, we instruct our children to respect and learn from teachers and school officials. Yet these same public employees unknowingly violate our children’s religious expression rights because the top heavy administration relies on lawyers who in turn do not concern themselves with legal rights. These lawyers are paid to protect the budget and avoid court actions which threaten the bottom line. Bus drivers, teachers, study hall monitors, and everyone else live in fear that they may get into trouble by omission if they ignore ‘illegal’ prayers or ‘prohibited’ biblical references in homework assignments.
School personnel and local government officials are rarely trained in the finer points of the law. They rely on the policies and directions of others, which lead back to the lawyers focused on protecting the budget.

Foolishly, we instruct our students to respect their teachers! Those same administrators that you would demand the head of if they offered a prayer to Allah.

No, the whole reason JT has a job is because these school administrators aren’t consulting their lawyers. You’re damn right those lawyers are paid to protect the budget!

Taxpayers could save piles of cash if schools would just listen to those lawyers who tell them “Umm…yeah, look…you’re going to lose. What you’re doing is illegal. Every judge for decades has agreed on this.

I agree with them. School administrators and teachers aren’t trained on the law, and when those “darn lawyers” do educate them, they could save a lot of money on legal fees if they would just listen to them.

 

 

 

It goes on, but doesn’t get any better. It ends with this, finally getting at what they really want:

Missouri needs the Prayer Amendment because we need prayer. Our students need prayer. Our government leaders need prayer. Our State and Nation needs prayer. The current and common prohibitions of prayer have allowed an erosion of morals and standards in our land. It’s time we take a stand before we completely lose the rights of free religious expression. Missouri needs the prayer Amendment before it’s too late!

 

It’s not about free expression, they admit they already have that. It’s not about expanding new rights, they admit it doesn’t do that. They even save the time and mention a specific example in their opening paragraph of organized events at schools that theist students can openly participate in, without a bit of resistance.

What they want is special privilege enshrined into law. The blinders of faith tell them they must have their religious propaganda spouted from every corner, and this conglomeration of distortion and outright lies is their “best” argument for it.

 

 

You can find me on twitter, @DrDavidBurger

I recruit in Kansas City, http://www.kcatheists.org/
& https://www.facebook.com/KCAtheists

  • lancefinney

    Of course, even if all their arguments were valid, they still wouldn’t explain why we need an amendment that says:

    that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs

    Want to get an A in biology without having to learn any actual science? Just say that all of your wrong answers are your “beliefs”.

  • Turumbar

    I am a resident of Missouri. I will be voting NO on this crap-tastic amendment. I am urging my fellow Missery residents to do the same.

    Much like the voter ID laws getting passed, it purports to solve a problem that doesn’t exist but in the imagination of its proponents. The real aim of these legislative efforts is more sinister.

    “Religion poisons everything”

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    Thanks for writing.

    When I believed in God, I used to pray during school … the difference being that I didn’t demand that others had to participate or that the teachers had to instruct my fellow students to follow my religious beliefs.

    @lancefinney (#1): That’s a good point. I would usually be okay with people opting out of a class/project based on their beliefs (so long as it’s not hurting anyone). However, there does come a point when someone would be getting unfair special treatment and lowered standards, like passing a class without actually learning a very major part of the material in the class.

  • Heather

    It’s times like these where I’m ashamed to be living in the Midwest, and especially Missouri. I also can’t help but wonder why I decided to go to school in southern Missouri where every day I’m surrounded by prayers, Christian works of art, Christian music, and an adviser who tells me that I really am a Christian deep down.

  • http://writtenaftermidnight.wordpress.com jaime

    “The current and common prohibitions of prayer have allowed an erosion of morals and standards in our land”

    I see some variant of this argument all the time in the church. I think what might be behind it is the insulated nature of a lot of religious communities. When people are taught that the world is clearly defined in black-and-white, and then they step outside that community and see that isn’t the way the world is, they have to either re-evaluate what they think or blame the world. Sadly, blaming is a lot easier.

  • LynnK

    And since when did learning the facts about a topic equal adopting that topic or those facts as personal belief? If people want to keep their children ignorant about knowledge beyond their religious constraints, then send them to a parochial school. This amendment is insulting, backward, an assault on freedom and sure to pass here in Missouri.

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