The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the voters in the state of Missouri will be voting this fall on a proposed amendment to the state constitution protecting the right to pray in public places.
While the U.S. Constitution protects the right to pray in public places, supporters of the Missouri ballot issue want to clarify those rights. In House committee testimony last year, they said there is increasing ignorance about religious expression. Opponents testified that the amendment adds nothing to existing law and may invite litigation.
Here Fido, here boy, who’s a good doggie then? Now roll over.
Personally, I think they’d have been farther ahead passing an amendment protecting citizens against unwarranted search and seizure, considering that the federal one seems to be missing in action somehow. But this is certainly not a bad thing to have, other than being redundant. The proposed amendment protects public prayer as long as it is initiated by private citizens and not by the state, and as long as it does not disturb the peace or disrupt whatever proceedings are going on, e.g. a class or a council meeting or whatever.
Of course, this leaves the door open for Catholic prayers and Mormon prayers and Muslim prayers and even prayers to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I can’t help but suspect this isn’t really what they had in mind, but law is law. As the saying goes, you make your bed and then you sleep in it.