Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

08 February 2012

Davis: Attack On Religious Liberty

The attorney, who later became our third President, Thomas Jefferson, became well known in Virginia a few years before he authored the Declaration of Independence. Various Baptist preachers had run afoul of a law in that state that required that all ministers of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” be licensed by the government. He defended the Baptist ministers because he opposed state sponsorship of religion, and because he believed these individuals had a right to practice their religion free of government intervention. At that time in our history, many states, including Virginia, had an established religion. The writers of our United States Constitution in 1788 resolved to divorce our new nation from the European way of having an official state religion and also to prohibit our government from interfering with individuals being able to freely following their religious convictions. To accomplish this, they included these words in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

One problem that existed in the 18th century in America was state sponsorship of religion. The authors of these two founding documents of our nation would probably be surprised to discover that one of our problems in the 21st century is an attack by government and others on religious liberty. The recent court challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance because it includes a reference to “God”, the challenges to public expression of faith and the attempts to stop religious organizations from using public spaces are examples of what some describe as a “war on religion”. Just last week, Vanderbilt University, a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee, announced that student prayer groups must allow atheists to participate in their meetings.

Even our federal government seems to be attacking religious organizations and churches or at least it is oblivious to the moral convictions of our citizens. A statement recently issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined the “final rule” which mandates the items and services that must be included in an employer provided health insurance policies under ObamaCare. The preventive health services mandated by the federal government will include sterilization procedures and a wide range of contraception items including the “morning after pill”. To the surprise of many, including the Conference of Catholic Bishops, no exemption is permitted for religious organizations that have moral objections to these types of services. Many religious organizations, including the Catholic Church, run large institutions which employ thousands of employees which provide essential services to the communities where they are located. These include hospitals, schools, universities, adoption agencies, and organizations that provide other charitable services. Because no exemption for conscience is provided to these entities, they will have to decide whether to violate a tenant of their faith, not provide insurance to their employee or close their doors.

This significant departure from our nation’s traditional respect for matters of faith and conscience has caused some observers to describe this action of President Obama to be an attack on our constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty. In response to this ruling by Secretary Sebelius, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is the lead sponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, a bill in his chamber that dials back “requirements for coverage of specific items and services”.

In order to protect people of faith and conscience in Missouri, we are currently drafting legislation to protect Missouri citizens from this assault in regard to employer provided health insurance. This legislation will protect employers and employees from a legal requirement of offering or accepting a service under a health plan when such services or benefits violate their religious belief or moral convictions. This legislation would also prohibit government from discriminating against or penalizing an employer that for moral or religious reasons does not offer a specific item or benefit in a health insurance plan. We hope to have this legislation filed within the next couple of weeks. This legislation is designed to help protect the religious liberty of all Missourians.

Floor Activity

HB 1104, sponsored by Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-139), specifies that a person seeking to vote in a public election must show a valid photo identification, driving or non-driving, to election officials before they can receive a ballot and have it counted. This is a simple, common sense requirement that all should embrace to protect one of our most sacred and fundamental rights and to seek to end the rampant voter registration fraud that continues to be discovered across our Nation. All costs incurred by an election authority to implement the photo identification requirement will be reimbursed by the state. If the voter does not have a valid identification, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. If the reason for not having a valid identification is because they cannot afford to receive a new birth certificate or other documentation, they can sign an affidavit to receive a ballot. If an individual does not have their identification with them, they are allowed to vote using a provisional ballot. It will only be counted if they return to the election authority and present the appropriate identification within three days after the election.

My latest polling results in the 128th District dealing with this topic with 298 responding:

YES – 72.8%
NO – 24.5%
No Opinion – 2%
No Response - .7%

No comments:

Post a Comment