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Missouri Family E-News April 26, 2010
Missouri House Supports Religious Liberty Measure
The Missouri House has given preliminary approval to legislation which would safeguard the religious liberties of Missouri citizens. The House voted to endorse a proposed constitutional amendment which would assure Missourians freedom of religious expression in public venues and on public property. The proposal, House Joint Resolution 62, is sponsored by Representative Mike McGhee of Odessa. The resolution states that Missourians have the right to pray and acknowledge God in private and public settings. It says that such prayers and religious expressions must be permitted to the same degree as any other speech under similar circumstances. The constitutional amendment expressly authorizes invocations at meetings of government bodies. The measure also specifically addresses the rights of children to pray on a voluntary basis in public schools so long as such prayer is not disruptive. Under the amendment, no student could be compelled to participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs. Students could also not be discriminated against because of the religious content of any written or oral school assignments. This is the third straight year that the Missouri House has supported this religious freedom joint resolution. This is the fifth straight year that the House has approved a constitutional amendment ensuring the right of schoolchildren to voluntary prayer. Unfortunately, the Missouri Senate has failed for the last four years to take up and pass this critical legislation. HJR 62 was given initial approval on a vote of 134-23. It is expected that the House will give final approval to the bill this week. It then moves to the Senate, where there are only three weeks left for final passage to occur. The Senate has already debated an identical joint resolution sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City, but the measure was set aside when it encountered a filibuster. If the religious liberty amendment is adopted by the Senate, it would then go on a statewide ballot in either the August primary election or November general election. We encourage you to contact your State Senator to urge their support for the religious liberty proposal, House Joint Resolution 62. You can contact your state senator by clicking this link: Missouri Senate.
Missouri Senate Approves New Informed and Consent Law on Abortions
 
The Missouri Senate has finalized action on major pro-life legislation which would enhance the state's informed consent law on abortion. The Senate gave final passage to the measure, sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter, by a vote of 26-5. Missouri law currently states that an abortion cannot be performed in the state unless a woman freely gives her informed and written consent. Yet the law does not spell out with any specificity what information the woman must receive. As a result, abortion clinics conceal from women all the facts they need to know to be able to give truly informed consent. Under the provisions of the bill, women must be made aware of the humanity of the unborn child and the fact that such a child may experience pain during an abortion. They must be advised of the medical risks of the abortion procedure to their short-term and long-term physical and mental health. Women must also be told about alternatives to abortion and the names of agencies that will help them if they choose to raise the child or place the child for adoption. The Senate amended the bill to include another proposal by Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville which would exempt the State of Missouri from the pro-abortion provisions of the recently enacted federal health care bill. Under Senator Rupp's legislation, insurance policies sold through the new federal health insurance exchange in Missouri could not include coverage for abortion. The federal law authorized the use of federal tax dollars and tax credits to subsidize insurance through these exchanges. The legislation now moves to the Missouri House, where it will be handled by Speaker Pro Tem Byan Pratt of Blue Springs. Pratt had been the lead sponsor of a similar measure previously approved by the House. It is hoped that the House will adopt the Senate bill with no further changes, so it is not necessary to return to the Senate with very few days left in the session. The following senators voted for Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 793: Senators Barnitz, Callahan, Champion, Crowell, Cunningham, Dempsey, Engler, Goodman, Griesheimer, Keaveny, Lager, Lembke, Mayer, McKenna, Nodler, Pearce, Purgason, Ridgeway, Rupp, Schaefer, Schmitt, Scott, Shields, Shoemyer, Stouffer, and Vogel The following senators voted against SS for SCS for SB 793: Bray, Days, Justus, Wilson, Wright-Jones The following senators were not present for the vote: Bartle, Clemens, Green If your Senator voted for this bill, we encourage you to contact them and thank them for their concern for pregnant women and children in Missouri. If your senator voted against the bill, you can let them know of your thoughts as well. You can contact them by visiting this link: Missouri Senate
Congressman Akin Condemns Decision on National Day of Prayer

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin has sharply condemned the recent decision by a federal judge that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin ruled that the national prayer observance amounted to an establishment of religion, and thus violates the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The lawsuit was brought by the atheist organization The Freedom from Religion Foundation. "This decision flies in the face of reason as well as our nation's spiritual heritage," Akin says. " I am hopeful that our higher courts will exercise greater wisdom and overturn this petty attack against a wonderful shared spiritual heritage of prayer. It is a tragedy that such rancor has been fomented by those who are adamant in their contempt for bringing Americans of various faiths together during a day of prayer. Akin pointed out that there have been 135 national calls to prayer, fasting, and Thanksgiving by Presidents of the United States since the first one was issued by President Washington in 1789. Congress formally established a National Day of Prayer in 1952, and every President since then has issued an annual National Day of Prayer proclamation. In 1988 Congress formally established the first Thursday in May as the date of the annual prayer observance. The National Day of Prayer Task Force is urging President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appeal Judge Crabb's decision. "Since the Days of our Founding Fathers, the government has protected and encouraged public prayer and other expressions of dependence on the Almighty," says Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "This is a concerted effort by a small but determined number of people who have tried to prohibit all references to our Creator in the public square, whether it be the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the simple act of corporate prayer--this is unconscionable for a free society." "This type of ruling, if not corrected on appeal, will continue the erosion of our religious heritage and freedom," an NDP spokesman said further. "It allows a handful of people to use the courts to restrict the genuine constitutional rights enjoyed by the majority of Americans merely because those few people claim to be 'offended'." Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) believes the case is likely to end up before the nation's highest court. He says the likelihood that the Supreme Court will hear the case reinforces the critical importance of President Obama's next Supreme Court appointment. The President has stated that he will make an announcement before the end of May of his choice to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. In response to Judge Crabb's decision, the American Family Association (AFA) is urging a strong public outpouring on this year's National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6th. AFA is mounting a campaign called "Meet at City Hall." The group is urging citizens to gather at their respective city halls in their communities from 12:20 to 12:40 to pray for the moral rebirth of the United States of America. "It is preposterous to suggest that there is anything unconstitutional about a national day of prayer," says Tim Wildmon, President of AFA. "Judge Crabb seems dangerously unaware of American history and the true meaning of the First Amendment, which was designed to protect freedom of religious expression, not stamp it out." You can learn more about the National Day of Prayer by visiting their website at this link: National Day of Prayer You can also sign a petition to President Obama by visiting the NDP link, going to the "news" menu item, scrolling to "Save the National Day of Prayer," and clicking the "petition" menu item.
NDP Missouri Events. In related action, Missouri Congressmen Todd Akin and Roy Blunt have joined in a friend-of-the-court brief concerning the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. The American Center for Law and Justice is urging the First Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a federal court decision in New Hampshire which upheld the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge. The Freedom from Religion Foundation also filed this suit, claiming that the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. The federal district court concluded that the New Hampshire law authorizing students to recite the Pledge was designed to "foster a sense of patriotism." The judge declared: "The Pledge is one of allegiance to our Republic, not of allegiance to God or any religion." ACLJ filed the amicus brief on behalf of 42 members of Congress including Akin and Blunt. "This is nothing more than another futile attempt to rewrite history," Sekulow says. "The words 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance echo the sentiments found in the Declaration of Independence and recognize the truth that our freedoms come from God." We encourage you to pray that our nation and it leaders and our judiciary will acknowledge the bedrock beliefs of our Founding Fathers, namely that our liberties are divine blessings granted by God and not created and granted by any government of men. May our nation and its courts once again value and respect our God-given right to acknowledge and revere God as the Supreme Ruler in the life our nation and its people.
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