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09 February 2012

Rupp: Defending Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State in Missouri

This week, I was proud to introduce an initiative in the Missouri Senate that emphasizes my dedication to protecting Missourians’ principles and values. The separation of church and state was a founding principle in our country, due to the fear of an overreaching government interfering with the freedoms to worship as we as Americans wish. The freedom of religion is one of the greatest liberties in Missouri, and one that all Americans treasure. As a free and just nation, religious organizations should not be forced to participate in acts that violate their conscience, morals, or religious beliefs.

A successful outcome on defending this principle was handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court in January when the federal government attempted to interject itself into personal matters of churches, telling them who they can hire and fire as their pastors and church leadership. After losing in the Supreme Court, the Obama administration has unfortunately chosen to go down this path again.

My joint resolution (SJR 49) would, upon voter approval, issue a constitutional amendment stating that no law or regulation would be able to compel a health care provider or professional to provide coverage for abortion services, sterilization procedures and other medical treatments.

In addition, I am co-sponsoring a bill (SB 749) that would stress protection for religious freedoms. If a health care provider or professional is morally opposed to the procedures I listed above, he or she would not be forced to administer them and the person or entity would not be penalized for refusing to perform these services. The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it would take effect immediately after the governor’s signature.

These measures are absolutely crucial to defend the people of Missouri. The federal government is set to require health care providers, even religious-based institutions that have long been exempt due to the separation of church and state, to pay for birth control and even perform abortion services. This is absolutely intolerable, and such an obligation completely steps upon our constitutional rights. Many people are angry about these federal regulations, and it’s my job to let their voices ring loud and clear at the Capitol.

In the Missouri Senate, I will stand firm and do all I can to protect our God-given rights and liberties from attack. By working together, we can preserve the principles of our country for ourselves, our families, and future generations. Thank you, and please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or thoughts regarding these issues.

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