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Missouri Family E-NewsMarch 14, 2011

 

Late-Term Abortion Bill OKed by Senate Committee
 

A Missouri Senate Committee has endorsed legislation which would protect preborn children from the crime of late-term abortion.  The Senate General Laws Committee approved Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 65 by a vote of 7-1.

  
The proposal, sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter, would prohibit abortions after a child is viable except in specified circumstances.  An abortion can only be performed after viability if continuation of the pregnancy would result in a threat to the life of the mother or a significant health risk to the mother.
  
Currently, Missouri law prohibits post-viability abortions except to "preserve the life or health of the woman."  A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 interpreted "health of the mother" to include any and all factors, including claims of mental and emotional distress or an inability or unwillingness to raise the child.
  
Defenders of legalized abortion like to claim that most abortions performed after viability are done because of what they like to call "fetal anomalies" or "birth defects" in the child.  Yet those with knowledge of late-term abortion practice acknowledge that many late-term abortions are performed for purely elective reasons.
  
While most late-term abortions are performed in hospitals, the Midwest has been a hub for abortion mills which have marketed late-term abortion "services."  George Tiller operated an assembly-line clinic doing late-term abortions in Wichita before he was murdered by a gunman.  LeRoy Carhart has operated a similar clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska.  Carhart recently announced that he was exporting his late-term abortion business to Iowa, Indiana, and Maryland.
  
Should Senator Mayer's legislation be adopted by the Missouri Legislature, late-term abortionists like LeRoy Carhart would have to think twice about trying to set up shop in Missouri.  A physician convicted of performing an illegal late-term abortion would be guilty of a Class C felony, and would have his medical license revoked.
  
Hospitals in Missouri would also have to ensure that physicians did not perform illegal late-term abortions in their facilities.  A hospital that knowingly allowed illegal late-term abortions to occur in its operating rooms would be subject to suspension of its operating license.
  
Senators Ryan McKenna, Brian Nieves, Chuck Purgason, LuAnn Ridgeway, Scott Rupp, Rob Schaaf, and committee chairwoman Jane Cunningham voted for the bill.  Senator Robin Wright-Jones voted against it.
  
Identical legislation restricting late-term abortions has been sponsored in the Missouri House by Representative Tim Jones of Eureka.  That bill is expected to receive final approval by the full House this week.
  

 

St. Louis Group Nixes Appearance by Chick-Fil-A President
 
 

  
A St. Louis group that promotes regional dialogue has shut down an appearance by Chick-Fil-A Restaurants President Dan Cathy under pressure from homosexual activists.
  
Cathy had been slated to appear at a "box lunch" presentation co-sponsored by FOCUS St. Louis and the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.  Cathy was scheduled to speak on "lessons learned from a career in the restaurant industry," including "his leadership toolkit that will help you grow as a leader."
  
PROMO, the Missouri homosexual rights organization, mounted a petition drive calling on the groups to cancel Cathy's appearance.  Chick-Fil-A has been the target of homosexual activists because of its recent support of a marriage conference in Pennsylvania.
  
Local Chick-Fil-A restaurants in Pennsylvania had donated food and brownies for the marriage seminar which was entitled "The Art of Marriage:  Getting to the Heart of God's Design."  The conference was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI), the sister organization to the Missouri Family Policy Council in that state.  Homosexual activists charge that PFI is anti-gay and a "hate group" because it supports the preservation of traditional marriage.
  
In a statement announcing the cancellation, FOCUS St. Louis said:  "Inclusion and acceptance for all within the community is a core principal of FOCUS St. Louis.  We advocate for an open and welcoming community based on justice for all, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or 'sexual orientation.'"
  
What FOCUS St. Louis really said is:  "We support inclusion and acceptance for all within the community unless you hold Christian values and beliefs.  We advocate for an open and welcoming community unless you believe in Biblical principles concerning marriage and the family.  We support healthy regional dialogue unless you desire to speak from a Judaeo-Christian value system."
  
  
Ellen Gale of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce says they decided to withdraw from the event because of Cathy's "controversial views."  "We are a pro-diversity culture here and certainly don't want to offend anyone."  That is, unless you are a Christian and don't fit Gale's definition of "diversity."  Even the ultraliberal Riverfront Times has described PROMO's latest bullying campaign as a "bonehead move."
  
Chick-Fil-A is a thoroughly admirable corporation that operates according to a Christian mission statement.  The company's purpose, established by founder Truett Cathy, is to "glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us."  A core principle of the corporation is to "operate the business according to Biblical principles."  The company has made that commitment known by keeping its restaurants closed on Sundays.
  
As in the past, we encourage you to go out of your way to  patronize this honorable Christian business.  We are told that the "boycott" by homosexual activists has only increased traffic at many Chick-Fil-A franchises.
  
  

 

"Show Me Your Glory" Kicks Off at State Capitol

 

Dr. Tom Blackaby will be the featured speaker at a prayer service to be held today in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Jefferson City.  The prayer service is the kickoff to a 40-day period of statewide prayer for members of the Missouri Legislature. 

 

The state government-focused prayer initiative is known as "Show Me Your Glory." The effort was launched last year by state organizers of the National Day of Prayer movement.  The prayer emphasis last year was tied to continuing work on the state budget.

 

The prayer effort bore considerable fruit in the work of the General Assembly in 2010.  The state budget was approved in record time with very little partisan rancor despite the state's very distressed revenue situation.

This year's prayer commitment is also timed to end on May 6th, the date by which the state budget must be adopted.

 

Blackaby is the second son of famous Christian author Henry Blackaby, who has written the popular "Experiencing God" series.  The younger Blackaby serves as the International Director for Blackaby Ministries International.  He has authored books of his own, including

The Man God Uses, and The Family God Uses.

 

 

Missouri House Backs Proposed Religious Freedom Amendment
 

Legislation designed to safeguard the religious liberties of Missouri citizens and schoolchildren has received overwhelming approval from the Missouri House of Representatives.  House Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by Representative Mike McGhee of Odessa, would amend Missouri's Constitution to clarify the rights of Missourians to pray and acknowledge God in both public and private settings.  The proposed constitutional amendment was endorsed by the Missouri House by a vote of 126-30.

 

"We are trying to make clear in the supreme law of our state that our religious freedoms are those intended by our Founding Fathers," says Representative McGhee.  "Too many of our citizens are denied the right to express their faith because they are told God doesn't have a place in school or in public life.  It's time for us to take a stand on behalf of our freedom to express our religious values in the public square. "

 

"Our Founding Fathers believed that prayer and religious expression was a good thing for our country,"  McGhee continued.  "They realized that we would fail as a nation if we tried to solve our problems on our own.  There are so many problems in our country right now that need fixing.  There's one surefire way to tackle those problems.  Prayer is the best solution to the challenges we face."

 

A central thrust of McGhee's house joint resolution is a provision stating that public school students have the right to pray and acknowledge God in the school setting as long as such religious expression is private and voluntary.  Students would also be assured of the right to express their religious beliefs in written and oral assignments in school.  No student could be forced to participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs.

 

Legal interest groups who are opponents of religious liberty have mounted a concerted campaign over the last several years to eradicate any expression of faith in the nation's public schools.   Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation threaten to file lawsuits against school districts if they fail to squelch any and all acknowledgements of God in and out of the classroom.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that school administrators and classroom teachers cannot lead students in "state-sponsored prayer."  Yet they also cannot engage in "viewpoint discrimination" by infringing on voluntary student speech with religious content.  Nonetheless, the ACLU and its allies supply school officials with a false legal interpretation of the "separation of church and state" doctrine insisting that all religious expression must be suppressed.  School officials typically buckle under the threat of an expensive lawsuit and yield to ACLU-type demands.

 

There is one school district in Rhode Island who has just decided to stand up to the legal bullying tactics of the ACLU.  The school board in the Cranston School District has voted to continue to display a prayer banner in the auditorium of Cranston High School West.  The banner hangs across from the school creed, and includes a prayer developed by the Student Council in the early 60's. 

 

The school banner reads as follows:  "Our Heavenly Father.  Grant us each day the desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically;  to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers; to be honest with ourselves as well as with others.  Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.  Teach us the value of true friendship.  Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.  Amen."

 

The ACLU sent the school a demand letter threatening to file suit if the banner is not removed.  The school board voted 4-3 to keep it up.  Parents and community leaders are raising money for a legal defense fund to finance any future litigation from the local ACLU chapter.

 

Yet not all school districts have demonstrated the same courage and resolve as the folks in Rhode Island.  In fact, some have been downright hostile to religious values.  In Denver, a student named Erica Corder was the valedictorian at Lewis-Palmer High School's graduation ceremony.  In her valedictory address, Corder thanked those who had an impact on her life, including "my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  The school board refused to award Erica her diploma until she issued a public apology for her remarks.

 

Teachers have also chosen to silence the religious expression of their students.  A teacher at Lynn Lucas Middle School in Houston, Texas, confronted two sisters who brought their Bibles to school.  She informed the girls that Bibles weren't allowed in school, declared that they were "garbage," and tossed them in a dumpster.  Yet another teacher at the same school accosted students who had their books covered with Ten Commandments book covers.  She removed the covers from the books and tossed them in the trash, stating that they amounted to "hate speech."

 

Students aren't the only ones who have been victims of religious discrimination in the school setting.  A few years ago, a school superintendent in Humansville, Missouri, was fired by the school board on the advice of school district attorneys.  Greg Thompson was dismissed because he refused to remove his Bible from his desk in his private office, refused to take a cross off the wall in his private office, and refused to take a plaque of the Ten Commandments off the shelf in his private office.

 

Public opinion surveys show that the vast majority of Americans believe that students in public schools should have more discretion to express their faith.  A recent poll conducted by The First Amendment Center found that 75% believed students should be able to speak about their faith at public events, and 80% thought student speakers should be allowed to offer a prayer during public school events.  Even those respondents who said they don't practice any religion agreed with those sentiments.

 

Representative McGhee's proposed constitutional amendment also addresses the freedoms of all citizens to pray and acknowledge God in other public settings.  It recognizes the right of citizens and public officials to pray and acknowledge God on government premises and public property.  It guarantees the right of governing bodies such as the Missouri Legislature and city councils to invite clergypersons to offer invocations.

 

We recently reported that the State Senate in Hawaii suspended its historic practice of offering prayers each day before the legislative session, as is the practice in almost every legislative body.  They did so under the threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU.  In another recent case, a state court judge in New Jersey decreed that the city council in Point Pleasant Beach could not have any kind of prayer whatsoever before its council meetings.  The judge ruled that prayer is "contrary to the role of secular government."

 

Opponents of religious liberty have spared nothing in their efforts to establish atheism as the official state religion in the United States.  They have gone to court to remove "In God We Trust" from our currency and from its status as our national motto.  They have sought to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.  Last year they succeeded in persuading a federal judge in Wisconsin to declare the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.

 

The legislation sponsored by Representative McGhee has now been passed by the Missouri House for four straight years.  (The prayer in schools portion of the amendment has been endorsed by the House six straight years.)  The bill now moves to the Senate, where it has died for the last three years due to a filibuster or threat of filibuster from legislative allies of the ACLU.

 

We encourage you to contact your state senator to urge their support of the religious freedom amendment.  Senator Jack Goodman of Mt. Vernon has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 16, which is identical to Representative McGhee's legislation.  You can contact your State Senator by using this link:

Missouri Senate

 

Here is how your State Representative voted on House Joint Resolution 2:

 

Representatives voting in favor of HJR 2:

 

Allen, Asbury, Aull, Bahr, Barnes, Bernskoetter, Berry, Black, Brandom, Brattin, Brown (Michael), Brown (Cloria), Brown (Wanda), Burlison, Casey, Cauthorn, Cierpiot, Conway (Kathie), Conway (Pat), Cookson, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Denison, Dieckhaus, Diehl, Dugger, Elmer, Entlicher, Fallert, Fisher, Fitzwater, Flanigan, Fraker, Franklin, Franz, Frederick, Fuhr, Funderburk, Gatschenberger, Gosen, Grisamore, Guernsey, Haefner, Hampton, Harris, Higdon, Hinson, Hodges, Holsman, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Hummel, Johnson, Jones (Tim), Jones (Caleb), Kander, Keeney, Kelley (Mike), Klippenstein, Koenig, Korman, Kratky, Lair, Lampe, Lant, Largent, Lasater, Lauer, Leach, Leara, Lichtenegger, Loehner, Long, Marshall, McCaherty, McGeoghegan, McManus, McNary, Molendorp, Nance, Nasheed, Neth, Parkinson, Phillips, Pollock, Quinn, Redmon, Reiboldt, Richardson, Riddle, Rizzo, Rowland, Ruzicka, Sater, Schad, Scharnhorst, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Schneider, Schoeller, Shively, Shumake, Sifton, Silvey, Smith (Jason), Solon, Stream, Swearingen, Swinger, Thomson, Tilley, Torpey, Wallingford, Webber, Wells, Weter, White, Wieland, Wright, Wyatt, and Zerr

 

Representatives voting against HJR 2:

 

Anders, Atkins, Carlson, Carter, Colona, Ellinger, Hubbard, Hughes, Jones (Tishaura), Kelly, Kirkton, May, McCann Beatty, McDonald, McNeil, Montecillo, Newman, Nichols, Oxford, Pace, Peters-Baker, Pierson, Schupp, Smith (Clem), Spreng, Still, Talboy, Taylor, Walton Gray, Webb

 

Absent with Leave:

 

Day, Faith, McGhee*, Meadows, Nolte, Zimmerman

 

*Representative McGhee was attending a funeral back in his district 

 

 

Joe's Signature 
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