Missouri’s ‘Amendment 2’ Right To Pray Or Right To Prey?

The state of Missouri will vote Tuesday, on a proposed amendment to the state constitution with the expressed purpose of  ‘protecting their right to prayer.’ It is expected to pass easily in that state, where 80% of the population identifies as Christian. The rationale for the bill is , incredibly, that religious rights are under attack.

The Huffington Post reports that the author of this bill, State Rep. Mike McGhee ; a Republican, naturally, has spent over two years trying to introduce this legislation.

Last May, he told the Post-Dispatch that if the measure passes it would “send a message” that “it’s OK to read a Bible in study hall” or “to pray briefly before a City Council meeting.”

McGhee’s pastor, the Rev. Terry Hodges of First Baptist Church in Odessa, said he had spoken with McGhee through the years about the legislation. He said that if Amendment 2 passes, it will “level the playing field.”


Hodges said Christians “enjoyed home-field advantage” for the country’s first 150 years. “That’s changed, and now there’s a hostility toward Christians,” he said.

Here is the text of the bill, in it’s entirety. And just for fun, here’s the website for the 2012 Missouri Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. I didn’t view the whole thing, but I didn’t see any mention of anyone trying to stop it from happening. And as a bonus, here’s a photo of a genuine Missouri Christian, who will presumably suffer no longer, under the yoke of anti-religious zealotry.

After this bill passes into law, it will immediately be contested in federal court, where it will almost certainly be overturned. It is wholly unnecessary, as the notion that the overwhelming majority of Missouri citizens is under attack is ludicrous. All the rights the bill purports to grant, are already covered by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with the possible exception of allowing students not to learn, for religious reasons. From that perspective it looks like a back-door attack on public education, something conservatives and religious leaders have been doing steadily for some time now.

The constitutionality of this bill is hardly even worth speculating about; this law will not stand. So instead, I’d like to talk about what it represents for those of us who like our church and state separate. Conservatives love to talk about America’s glorious past, in gilded reverent voices. Truth be told, misremembering U.S. history is more of a religion to them than Christianity, which is rapidly coalescing into a pure political force. I can certainly find no evidence of a connection with the words of Jesus Christ I was taught as a child.

But let’s go ahead and talk about U.S. history. I’ll even stipulate that the majority of the players in it were Christian. When America went through troubling times in the past, you know what all those people did?

SOMETHING!

They may have prayed at home, or in church on Sunday, but the rest of the time, they got off their asses and their knees, and did something about it. And they sure as Hell expected more from their leaders than to legislate ‘putting it in God’s hands.’ Spending two years trying to ram an already protected action into law, is the exact same thing as doing nothing at all. People shouldn’t be voting for this bill, they should be holding recall elections for every one of the simpering idiots in the Missouri legislature who are abdicating their responsibility to govern, by asking God to do it for them.

It’s weak. It’s childish. And if you’re a believer in American exceptionilism, you should know how weak it makes us look to foreign powers. The most spoiled society in the world’s history, prying their obese bodies off their Rascals, falling to their knees to beg for divine intervention. If Christian conservatives ever took a timeout from trying to overthrow our system of government and prove the president is a Muslim, maybe things wouldn’t be so dire.

It’s not God’s job to fix America’s problems, it’s yours. And tell your kid to shut up and go to class, while you’re at it. I’m told God helps those who helps themselves.

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