Our Country was founded on religious freedom. The original pilgrims came to our country because they were not offered religious freedom in the motherland. There has been so much confusion over the Religious Freedom Bill in the Missouri State Legislature, it is time for me to address this in our newsletter.
Regardless of how you felt about SJR39, I am here to offer you comfort and encouragement. The Missouri Constitution states that nobody nor any government can interfere with our consciences. This is both simple and broad. Article 1, Section 5 says:
“That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience;…”
It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, but we owe it to ourselves to read the actual language of the bill. The proposed bill would have only helped those who are involved in wedding services. This would have left out a lot of other people and a lot of other issues.
Since SJR39 only dealt with the issue of homosexuality, it left out other problems like someone’s being compelled to produce a product that is vulgar, racist, pornographic, blasphemous, derogatory, vile or treasonous. These are just a few examples of how it would violate someone’s conscience if our society required us to perform repugnant services. Therefore, our Missouri Constitution states that our conscience rights are protected.
For example, I own a Christian Bookstore and make plaques for my customers. Most of my customers ask for verses from the Bible on their plaques. If a customer asked me to make a plaque with a swastika or a desecrated American Flag or swear words, I have the right to decline the business based upon the Missouri Constitution. SJR39 would have done nothing to protect me because it only deals directly with homosexual issues.
It has been said that the author of the bill narrowly tailored the wording to assure the subject only dealt with homosexuality, so as to create less opposition. The story ended with enough public opposition to put the resolution into the cemetery.
Much of the debate had nothing to do with the proposal. Those in opposition to the resolution spoke as if it were a referendum on how we feel about homosexuality. Those who were in favor of the resolution talked as if we would lose our religious freedom if this didn’t pass. Once the debate was twisted into a contest on whether we like homosexuals or not, logic left the debate. Apparently, any debate can be won if the voters refuse to read or understand the actual content of the legislation.
If you are one of those who was saddened by its demise, take heart. The fears we face are not from a lack of legislative protection. Our fears are based on concern over bad judicial rulings. More laws won’t fix our judges; but more integrity and concern about being Constitutional may help.
If you want to hear more about these ideas, you will enjoy our podcast this week with one of the Locke and Smith Founders, Tom Martz. The Locke and Smith Foundation is an organization that uses the Constitution as a measuring stick for legislation moving through the Missouri General Assembly.
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