Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
On August 7, Missourians will be asked to vote on Amendment 2, an amendment to the state constitution that supporters claim will expand citizens’ rights to the free exercise of religion. While increasing religious liberty protections is a laudable goal, Amendment 2 is deeply flawed. The Baptist Joint Committee opposes this “Religious Liberty Amendment” because it is unnecessary and could actually harm religious freedom.
The measure’s official summary lists three intentions: to ensure “that the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed; that school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and that all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.” These stated purposes should give voters pause, because the first two are already constitutionally required and the third is constitutionally permitted. Furthermore, while this is the extent of the description that will appear on the ballot, the Amendment’s full text is much longer; indeed, it would add nearly 400 words of new language to the state constitution.