On August 7, Missouri residents have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 2, a public referendum that has the potential to damage educational progress in Missouri.
The text that will appear on the ballot presents the Amendment as a simple restatement of rights we already have; students already have the right to engage in voluntary prayer and citizens are already guaranteed the right to engage in religious expression in the public square.
Unfortunately, the active part of the Amendment isn’t mentioned or hinted at on the ballot – the Amendment would enable students to declare that their personal beliefs trump school curricula:
that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs
This means that Mormon students will be able to demand an A for a paper that says that Native Americans are descendants of a tribe of Israel. This means that fringe Christian students will be able to demand an A for a paper that says that the Earth is flat and the center of the Universe. This means, essentially, that any teacher of science or history has to be ready to endorse as equally valid any notion that a student claims is core to her religion.
What can we do to fight this deceptive Amendment and the damage it will cause to Missouri’s educational system and our religious liberties?
Become educated on the issue and let your friends and neighbors know what this referendum would do.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is fighting this Amendment, and they have some great resources:
- A Talking Points flyer
- A flyer on the constitutional problems caused by the Amendment
- A flyer on the educational effects
- A flyer on the coercion of prayer in schools
Please read up on these issues, print and distribute the flyers, and vote against this deceptive attempt to insert religion into our government and schools.
Statements in this review do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.