COLUMBIA — During its last legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 2, which would repeal Section 5 of Article I in the Missouri Constitution and secure children's rights to pray in schools.
Who it affects and how it affects them
- People would be secure in their right to acknowledge God.
- The right to pray and express religious beliefs would not be infringed.
- People could not be coerced by the state to participate in prayer or other religious activities.
- Students would be free to express religious beliefs in written and oral assignments without fear of discrimination based on the religious content of their work.
- Students would not be forced to participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs.
- Schools that receive state funding would be required to display the U.S. Bill of Rights "in a conspicuous and legible manner."
- All political entities, including the state, would be prevented from establishing an official religion.
- Governing bodies would be allowed to invite ministers, clergy or others to offer prayers or other invocations at meetings.
The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Mike McGhee, R-Odessa, and has drawn criticism and support from candidates running in Missouri. Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, called the measure unnecessary. He added the law might allow students to argue that classwork is against their religion.
Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, said earlier this month that the law would "simply specify that (the right to pray) is a religious freedom."
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.