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Missouri Family E-News March 1, 2010
Federal Court Rules School Board Can Pray
A federal judge has ruled that a school board in Delaware can open its meetings with prayer. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Farnan, Jr., dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Indian River School District claiming that such prayers were an unco= nstitutional establishment of religion.
In his decision, Judge Farnan ruled that the prayer policy followed by the school board did not "proselytize or advance religion." He further concluded that an elected school board is more like a legislative body than a school assembly, and therefore prayer is constitutionally permissible.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in various cases that formal school sponsored prayers may constitute an endorsement of religion, and thus be forbidden under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  However, the High Court has also ruled that invocations or prayers which "solemnize" meetings of legislative bodies are constitutionally acceptable.
The suit was filed by two families who claimed that the school district was promoting Christianity, and that the school board was creating "an environment of religious exclusion." 
Attorney Thomas Neuberger, who represented the school district, said, "We are elated that the efforts of the ACLU to bully this small school board have been defeated."
In related action, the Missouri Senate began debate on a religious liberty amendment designed to protect the religious freedoms of students and teachers in public school settings.  The proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution would assure the rights of schoolchildren to pray and acknowledge God on a voluntary basis in Missouri schools.
Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City is the sponsor of the Senate Joint Resolution.  He cited numerous instances like that in Delaware where opponents of religious liberty have threatened school boards and city councils in efforts to quash freedom of religious expression.  
Senators Joan Bray and Rita Days of St. Louis County engaged in extended discussion in efforts to block passage of the bill.  The legislation was set aside and will likely be taken up for debate again late r in the session.  The Missouri chapter of the ACLU has been lobbying vigorously against the religious freedom measure, which has passed the Missouri House during the last two legislative sessions.
Legislative Committees Advance Pro-Life Ultrasound Bills
Legislative committees in the Missouri House and Senate have approved pro-life proposals which would assure that women considering abortion have an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their child.
The Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted 5-2 to approve the ultrasound bill sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter.  The House Committee on Children Youth and Families voted 7-5 to advance a substitute bill reflecting legislation sponsored by Representative Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs.
Both bills would bolster provisions in Missouri law which require that abortion clinics obtain the informed consent of a woman before they undergo the procedure.  Missouri currently has a law which mandates a 24-hour waiting period before a woman secures an abortion.  The new legislative proposals would specify that she receive detailed information concerning the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion a full day before the procedure is performed.
Both bills are patterned after legislation initiated and developed by the Missouri Family Policy Council.  The cornerstone of the bill is the ultrasound requirement, which has now been adopted by 18different states. The bills seek to guarantee that women are able to make a truly informed "choice" when confronted with a decision over an unintended pregnancy.
The following senators voted FOR Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 793:
Senators Bartle, Goodman, Cunningham, Schaefer, and Schmitt
Senators voting AGAINST SCS for SB 793:
Senators Justus and Keaveny
The following Representatives voted FOR House Committee Substitute for House Bills 1327 and 2000:
Representatives Davis, Ervin, Grisamore, Emery, McGhee, Sander, and Cooper
The following Representatives voted AGAINST HCS for HBs 1327 & 2000:
Representatives Schupp, McNeill, Oxford, Corcoran, and Webb
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Military Leaders Oppose Repeal of Ban on Homosexuals in the Armed Forces
Key military leaders are expressing opposition to plans by the Obama administration to repeal the ban on open homosexuals serving in the U.S. armed services.  Leaders of branches of the armed forces testified before 
Congressional committees that they support retention of the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway told senators, "The current policy works. My best military advice to this committee...would be to keep the law such as it is."  Army Chief of Staff Gen George Casey testified before a U.S. House committee that he has "serious concerns" about the impact of a repeal, saying it could impact "readiness and military effectiveness." Air Force Chief of Staff General Norman Schwartz told House members that now "is not the time to perturb the force, which is already stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Now even Defense Secretary Robert Gates is calling for a delay in lifting restrictions on homosexuals in the military, arguing that such action should be held off until a year-long review is completed.  Gates had previously supported Obama's proposal, which would eliminate current regulations that state that anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" is prohibited from military service.  
Under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy implemented during the Clinton administration, homosexuals are able to serve in the military provided they don't share their sexual preference for homosexuality on their military eligibility forms.  The policy forbid military personnel from questioning enlistees about potential homosexual behavior or inclinations.  Yet military regulations still maintained that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
President Obama's proposal to change the culture of America's armed forces has run into rough sledding in military circles.  Both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have strongly opposed the change.  More than 1100 retired admirals and generals have objected to the change, saying that overturning the ban would "undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents to lend theirs sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All -Volunteer Force." Additional military authorities
have contended that the change would likely exclude the promotion of officers who do not publicly affirm homosexual behavior, essentially ending any advancement in their military careers. 
The Alliance Defense Fund recently sent a letter to President Obama citing concern over the impact of a policy change on the religious freedom of chaplains.  "If the military is forced to promote homosexual behavior...there will be open conflict between the virtues taught by chaplains and the moral message delivered by the military," says ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot.
"If the state favors the demands of homosexual activists over the First Amendment, it is only a matter of time before the military censors the religious expression of its chaplains and marginalizes denominations that teach what the Bible says about homosexual behavior.  Forcing chaplains to deny the teachings of their faith in order to serve in the Armed Forces is a grave threat to the spiritual health of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen who depend on them."
In a sign of things to come, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was disinvited to speak at a military function at Andrews Air Force Base.  He was informed by the base chaplain that his invitation to speak was being rescinded because his statements against repeal of the current policy were "incompatible with our role as military members who serve our Commander in Chief. "Perkins, who is a Marine Corps veteran, planned to speak on the duty to serve God and our neighbors.
As the debate over military standards has escalated, many military experts have pointed out the difference between military and civilian life.  Professor of Law William Woodruff describes it this way  "The American military does not fight an armed enemy sworn to destroy our way of life by showing how enlightened and progressive our popular culture is...Anything, whether it is height, weight, IQ, character, physical fitness, medical condition, or any other condition that detracts from unit cohesion and combat effectiveness disqualifies an otherwise patriotic American from serving in the military.  The military is not popular culture...Otherwise, it elevates the individual over the mission and that is the antithesis of military service."
Former General Colin Powell stated it well in 1993 when he told members of Congress:  "It would be prejudicial to good order and discipline to try to integrate gays and lesbians in the current military structure...Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic.  'Sexual orientation' is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics.  Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument"
We encourage you to let your Congressional representatives know that you support retaining high moral standards in the military service, and that you oppose the endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle in our armed forces.  The Obama administration's plan is a severe threat to our nation's national security, and even more so our nation's spiritual integrity.
You can contact Senator Kit Bond by using this link:
You can contact Senator Claire McCaskill by clicking this link:
You can contact your Congressman by visiting this link
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