Amendment 2’s fate hinges on turnout
JEFFERSON CITY – The Nov. 7 vote on Amendment 2, which would promote the spread of embryonic stem cell research (human cloning) in Missouri, is too close to call.
“It’s a complete voter turnout question,” said Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
Messer noted that the emergence of 2tricky.org, an innovative website paid for by Life Communications Fund, is helping to boost the chances of the “No” side. MBC Legal Counsel Michael Whitehead, who serves on the board of Missourians Against Human Cloning (MAHC), said the new website’s theme that Amendment 2 is “too tricky” to be passed will be featured in a Nov. 2 televised debate in Kansas City when he and MAHC spokesperson Cathy Ruse take on two representatives from the other side.
“The 2tricky ads are great because they’re capitalizing on confusion,” Messer said. “A confused voter generally is a ‘No’ voter.”
The issue continues to attract national and international attention in the final days of the campaign. Some of the biggest names in American conservatism have entered the fray to help counter the more than $28 million being spent by the cloning lobby. Many believe if Missouri votes “Yes,” the biotech industry will greatly expand.
“The whole thing is hideous and misleading,” said Cape Girardeau native Rush Limbaugh, a talk radio host with a weekly audience of 20 million listeners. Limbaugh devoted much of his Oct. 24 show to the topic and particularly to television ads running throughout Missouri featuring actor Michael J. Fox in which Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, speaks in behalf of Amendment 2 proponents. The Fox advertisement was quickly countered by a “Vote No” ad featuring St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Jeff Suppan, Kansas City Royals slugger Mike Sweeney, former St. Louis Ram quarterback Kurt Warner and actors Patricia Heaton of “Everyone Loves Raymond” fame and Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in the phenomenally successful film “The Passion of the Christ.”
Missouri Baptist leaders have been relentless on the speaking circuit. More sermons are being prepared for Nov. 5, the final Sunday before the election. Turning out “values voters,” or social conservatives who will cast their ballots in accordance with a true Christian worldview, is the goal.
Loss West, 78, a member of Highland View Baptist Church, St. Charles, recently handed out 300 brochures against Amendment 2. That is an example of the grassroots-type of tactic that pro-life activists have been using. Another effective strategy has been the letter to the editor. Hundreds have been published in Missouri’s newspapers, including one in the Southeast Missourian by Dr. Angela M. Keele of Cape Girardeau.
“Do not make Missouri a haven for this barbaric research,” Keele wrote. “Show the world where our values lie.”