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Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News April 27, 2009
Banquet Center Owner Takes Stand for Unborn
In a recent Jeff City Update we shared with you information about an awards banquet held last night by a group calling itself "Faith Aloud."  The banquet was organized by pro-abortion activists to "honor" representatives from Planned Parenthood and current and former legislators for their support of the abortion industry.  We were disappointed to learn that the event was being held for the second straight year at Orlando Gardens, a prominent south St. Louis County banquet center.  We encouraged you to send e-mails to the management expressing disappointment
that they would host a party for those celebrating the killing of unborn children.  As a result of those contacts, we are delighted to report that the owners have had a change of heart.  General Manager
Mike Orlando shared his decision in an e-mail to us:  "The Orlando Family is PRO LIFE.  Therefore, our family will refuse to receive any profit from this event and donate all of the event's proceeds to the Respect for Life Apostolate at the St. Louis Archdiocesan office.  Furthermore, Orlando Gardens will not be hosting any future events for Planned Parenthood."  Praise God for this victory.  Please take the time to e-mail Mr. Orlando and thank him for taking this courageous stand on behalf of justice for the unborn.  He has demonstrated that he is a businessman of true integrity and conscience.  You can reach Mike Orlando at morlando@orlandogardens.com
 
 
Bott Radio Network to Air Jeff City Update
 
We are very pleased to report a new partnership with our friends at the Bott Radio Network.  Beginning in May, you will be able to hear broadcast versions of the Jeff City Update on Bott Radio network stations across Missouri.  Each weekday there will be 60-second news segments with reports on legislative developments and other issues of interest to Christian families.  We are also very pleased to share that a familiar voice will be the announcer for our broadcast updates.  Bob Ditmer has agreed to be the personality for the radio version of the Jeff City Update.  He is a former announcer and reporter for Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus broadcasts.  Bott Radio's Bible teaching programs are aired from over 30 coverage areas around Missouri.  We want to thank pro-family champion Dick Bott, the founder and President of Bott Radio Network, for his generous offer to air these updates.  We also want to thank Executive Vice President Rich Bott, Chief Operating Officer Trace Thurlby, and Director of Broadcast Operations Eben Fowler, for all their gracious help in formulating and programming these broadcast updates.  The people of Missouri have benefitted for many years from the pioneering efforts of the Bott family.  They have been in the vanguard of those promoting Biblical principles and Christian values in our state and nation for quite some time.  We are thrilled to be joining hands and hearts with them in this important educational element of our ministry.  Please let them know of your gratitude for their continuing service to Christian families in Missouri, and throughout the Midwest.  You can contact Rich Bott at rbott@bottradionetwork.com  
We will provide you more information on the times when the Jeff City Update will be aired as broadcast schedules are finalized. 
 
 
Your Voice is Important
 
The purpose of the Jeff City Update is to provide you valuable information about issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.  This information equips you to be an active and engaged Christian citizen in communicating your concerns to your elected representatives.  It also helps you focus your prayers on specific people who need intercession, and specific subjects that call for God's manifold grace and mercy. 
 
We hope you find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily.org,
by phone at (636) 536-0014, or by mail at the address below.
 
Please be in prayer for our ministry as we work to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of the State Capitol.  Please also remember us as we seek to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with legislators, legislative staff, lobbyists, and all those who frequent our State Capitol.
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Missouri House Approves Religious Liberty Amendment
The Missouri House of Representatives has given overwhelming approval to a proposed constitutional amendment protecting the religious freedoms of Missouri citizens.  House Joint Resolution 11 was given final passage by a vote of 134-24.  It now must be approved by the Missouri Senate before it can be submitted to voters in a statewide election which would occur in 2010.
 
This is the second year in a row the House has given strong bipartisan endorsement to this religious freedom proposal.  This is the fourth consecutive year in which the House has supported some form of religious liberty legislation.  Each of the last three years those bills have died in the Missouri Senate.
 
HJR 11 would ensure that no state or local government can infringe on a citizen's right to pray or express his or her religious beliefs in public or private settings.  It guarantees that citizens and public employees have the right to pray and acknowledge God on government premises and public property.  It also protects the right
of government bodies to invite ministers to offer invocations at public meetings.
 
In the public school setting, HJR 11 provides that students have the right to pray so long as such prayer is private and voluntary and is not disruptive.  The resolution also calls for a copy of the Bill of Rights, which contains the First Amendment provisions on freedom of religion, to be posted in every public school building.
 
HJR 11 is a response to continuing threats mounted against religious freedom by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  These groups regularly send threatening letters to school officers and government officials in efforts to stifle religious expression. They claim that the bogus constitutional theory of the separation of church and state prohibits any discussion or acknowledgement of God in the public arena.  As a result, many public officials and school district employees ban religious speech which is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution.
 
The truth is that even the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed that religious speech must be afforded the same free exercise as any other form of speech.  No public entity or its employees can engage in viewpoint discrimination, and discriminate against expression of one's religious beliefs or prayers offered according to one's faith.  In the school setting, federal courts have prohibited organized prayer led by teachers or school officials, but have protected student-initiated prayer so long as it is truly voluntary. 
 
Yet the ACLU and the AUSCS continue to engage in intimidation tactics arguing that students can't talk about God in the classroom, that prayer meetings can't be held on government property, and that pastors can't pray before city council meetings, despite the fact that federal courts have made clear that such actions are constitutionally permissible.
 
Adoption of HJR 11 by Missouri voters and its inclusion in our State Constitution would accomplish two things: 
 
1)  It would clarify for citizens and public officials throughout Missouri the extent of our constitutional liberties in the area of religious freedom.  The general principles contained in the current Constitution would be strengthened with specific language detailing the application of these freedoms in the daily lives of Missouri citizens and in the activities and proceedings of government.
 
2)  It would prevent state judges from interpreting Missouri's Constitution in ways that would be hostile or adverse to religious freedom.  Christian families continue to witness dictatorial behavior by state judges across the country who issue decisions from the bench which thoroughly distort longstanding provisons of state constitutions.  This has been particularly evident in recent judicial dictates decreeing "homosexual marriage," such as just occurred in our neighboring state of Iowa.  The language of HJR 11 would bind the hands of state judges and foreclose assaults on religious liberties in our state courts.
 
House Joint Resolution 11 is sponsored by Representative Mike McGhee of Odessa.  Representative McGhee has been a great friend of the Christian community and a strong advocate for the spiritual convictions of Missouri families.  Much of the language in HJR 11 was developed by the Missouri Family Policy Council.  We appreciate Representative McGhee working with us to advance the strongest possible proposal for consideration by Missouri voters. 
 
Prospects for ultimate passage of the religious freedom amendment are not promising.  Companion legislation (Senate Joint Resolution 12) introduced in the Senate by Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City has been stalled by a filibuster.  Please pray that Senators will recognize the the primary importance of protecting our religious liberties in the priorities they will consider as the legislative session comes to a close.  As we discussed last week, they must be willing to shut down a filibuster to see that the constitutional freedoms of Missouri citizens are preserved.  Please pray that they will have the moral resolve to do so.
 
Legislators voting for House Joint Resolution 11:  Representatives Aull, Biermann, Bivins, Brandom, Bringer, Brown (Jason), Brown (Michael), Brown (Dan), Bruns, Burlison, Calloway, Carter, Casey, Chappelle-Nadal, Cooper, Corcoran, Cox, Cunningham, Davis, Day, Deeken, Denison, Dethrow, Dieckhaus, Diehl, Dixon, Dugger, Dusenberg, Emery, Englund, Ervin, Faith, Fallert, Fischer, Fisher, Flanigan, Flook, Frame, Funderburk, Gatschenberger, Grill, Grisamore, Guernsey, Guest, Harris, Hobbs, Hodges, Holsman, Hoskins (Denny), Hummel, Icet, Jones (Tishaura), Jones (Tim), Jones (Kenny), Kander, Keeney, Kingery, Koenig, Komo, Kratky, Kraus, Kuessner, Lair, Lampe, Largent, Leara, LeBlanc, Liese, Lipke, Loehner, McClanahan, McGhee, McNary, Meadows, Meiners, Molendorp, Munzlinger, Nance, Nasheed, Nieves, Nolte, Norr, Parkinson, Parson, Pollock, Pratt, Quinn, Richard, Roorda, Rucker, Ruestmann, Ruzicka, Salva, Sander, Sater, Scavuzzo, Schaaf, Schad, Scharnhorst, Schieffer, Schlottach, Schoeller, Schoemehl, Self, Shively, Silvey, Smith (Joe), Smith (Jason), Spreng, Stevenson, Storch, Stream, Sutherland, Swinger, Thomson, Tilley, Todd, ,Tracy, Viebrock, Wallace, Walsh, Wasson, Wells, Weter, Wildberger, Wilson (Larry), Wilson (Kevin), Witte, Wood, Wright, Yates, Zerr, Zimmerman
 
Legislators voting against HJR 11
Representatives Atkins, Brown (Steve), Burnett, Colona, Curls, Dougherty, Hoskins (Theodore), Hughes, Kelly, Kirkton, LeVota, Low, McNeil, Oxford, Pace, Schupp, Skaggs, Still, Talboy, Vogt, Walton Gray, Webb, Webber, Yaeger
 
Legislators voting present:
Representatives El-Amin, Morris
 
Legislators absent:
Allen, Franz, McDonald
© 2009 A KTLLC Communications Solution