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Missouri Amendment 2: 'Right To Pray' Or Redundant Rights?

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On Tuesday, Missouri citizens will vote on Amendment 2, the so-called “right to pray” ballot measure

The amendment would guarantee Missouri residents the right to express religious beliefs and also would allow students in public schools to pray and acknowledge their religion voluntarily.

Supporters say the measure would protect residents and students to practice their own religious beliefs. But opponents say the amendment is redundant and that the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions already protect religious freedom. Furthermore, opponents argue that the measure would do more harm than good for public schools because the measure does not specify what can constitute a "religious belief."

Monday on Up to Date guest host Brian Ellison welcomes a "religion roundtable" of guests to discuss the amendment: Pastor Phil Hopper of Abundant Life Baptist Church in Lee's Summit argues for the amendment, Rev. Dr. Stan Runnels of St. Paul's Episcopal Church voices his objection to the amendment, and Kevin Eckstrom, editor in chief of Religion News Service tells us about other similar measures throughout the country and additional church vs. state arguments throughout the nation.

Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC and chief of broadcast operations for KCUR 89.3 and 91.9 Classical KC. You can email him at stephen@kcur.org.
As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.