Rush to Judgment: Missouri’s Deceptive ‘Right to Pray’ Amendment Heads for August Ballot
Missouri voters are being asked to buy a pig in a poke - and the sale of said porker is coming up sooner than expected.
Gov. Jay Nixon announced last week that a “Right To Pray” Amendment will be going on the ballot in August instead of November as expected.
Why the rush? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nixon’s staff said it was “because the provisions of the amendment would be effective immediately if approved by voters.”
In fact, political observers in the state say the Democratic governor knows the amendment will draw large numbers of GOP-voting religious conservatives to the polls and he wants to get that influx out of the way before the November election.
Regardless of his motive, Nixon has given advocates of church-state separation less time to educate voters about the true impact of the measure.
Drafted by Religious Right champion Rep. Mike McGhee (R-Odessa), the 374-word scheme purports to protect the right of citizens to express their religious beliefs, to guarantee the right of school children to pray and acknowledge God and to require public schools to display the Bill of Rights.
At least that’s what a ballot summary of the amendment says.
In fact, that summary masks the real impact of the proposal. The measure’s language is so broad no one knows for sure what its effect might be.