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Missouri voters to decide on Right to Pray amendment - KOAM TV 7

Missouri voters to decide on Right to Pray amendment

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Missourians will be asked to vote on a Right to Pray amendment but some critics question whether it's even needed.

On the ballot this coming Tuesday Missouri voters will see it as "amendment two".

It's not just students but all residents, prisoners, and in public or private places.

The Missouri Public Prayer Amendment was referred to the ballot by the legislature and says it guarantees the right to express religious beliefs.

We found some youth groups volunteering in Joplin who pray before meals on their mission trip.  Supporters of the amendment say it would protect residents and students right  to practice their own religious beliefs.

Some attorneys argue that's already guaranteed under the First Amendment.  Bill Fleischaker says adding more standards in Missouri could open schools or prisons up to unnecessary litigation.

School officials say the amendment won't change current practice of prayer in school.

"I think the purpose of the amendment is to more closely align the Missouri constitution with the Constitution of the U.S., but as far as current practices go students have had and will continue to have the right to pray in public schools regardless of whether it passes or doesn't," says Joplin Schools Superintendent C.J. Huff.

The Catholic Bishops of Southwest Missouri have endorsed the Right to Pray amendment while Missouri Libertarians came out against it.  The Libertarian committee calls the amendment another symptom of the problem of government involvement in affairs that are outside the defined role of protecting our freedoms.

Voters will have their say on Tuesday August 7.

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