Missouri House advances school prayer measure

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 21, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House has endorsed a proposed amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing the right to pray in public settings, including schools.

The House gave the measure first-round approval Monday on a vote of 127-25. If approved on a second House vote and later by the Senate, it would appear on a statewide ballot next year.

The Missouri Constitution already guarantees citizens the right to worship as they choose.

The proposed amendment states that public school students have the right to religious expression, including prayer, without interference. Any such expression would have to be private, voluntary and nondisruptive.

House Republican Mike McGhee of Odessa says his proposed amendment would make clear students can pray privately in school but wouldn't change what is already permissible.


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