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The Founding Fathers were explicit in the First Amendment’s separation and no-establishment clause that prohibits religion from dictating the course of any part of the government. Republicans are allegedly extraordinarily fierce defenders of the Constitution except where it conflicts with their ideology, and as Americans have witnessed for the past year-and-a-half, GOP ideology is firmly rooted in obeisance to fundamentalist Christianity. On Tuesday, voters in Missouri took a major step towards granting Christians the right to dominate public meetings, discriminate against non-Christians, and dictate school curriculum as defined by evangelical Christian fanatics. Now that residents of the “show me state” have established Christianity as the state religion.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the “right to pray” Amendment (Amendment 2), a measure that ensures public meetings, school functions, and educators are beholden to adhere to the whims and mythos of fundamentalist Christianity. The amendment was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike McGhee, a Baptist, to allegedly protect the state’s Christians, about 80 percent of the population, who complain they are under siege in the public square. The Christian’s, buoyed by support from the state’s four Catholic bishops, define “under siege” as not being allowed impose their version of Christianity on the rest of the population. In fact, McGhee worked in concert with his preacher, Rev. Terry Hodges of First Baptist Church, who said if the amendment passes, it will “level the playing field” because Christians “enjoyed home-field advantage for the country’s first 150 years, but that’s changed, and now there’s a hostility toward Christians.”
The hostility towards Christians is fantasized by the president of Missouri Family Network who said, “religious liberty is pretty important and a high priority, the public feels the Supreme Court took this away from them over 50 years ago by ruling against mandatory school prayer.” Opponents of the amendment say it will “become the vehicle for a sectarian agenda, typically Christian and typically Protestant, in violation of the no-establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.” The amendment also jeopardizes education by including a clause that allows parents and students to dictate curriculum and instruction to fit their religious inclinations.
One section of the amendment says “no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs.” The programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, Josh Rosenau, said allowing students to opt out of assignments would be problematic.
With the overwhelming majority of Missouri residents subscribing to Christianity, education will be transformed into bible classes and students will finish school with the academic acumen of Dark Ages hunter-gatherers; only more superstitious.
According to the Constitution, religious protections are already guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, and if a person wants to pray in public, they have that right. However, they do not have the right to force other citizens, or students, to suffer their superstitious appeals or praises to an imaginary being.