JEFFERSON CITY — The overwhelming show of support in Missouri for Amendment 2, the right-to-pray measure that drew 83 percent support on the primary election ballot Aug. 7, may be reflected in the ranks of lawmakers gathered here Sept. 12-13 for the override effort on Senate Bill 749.
Kerry Messer, legislative liaison for the Christian Life Commission (CLC) of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), said the core issue of religious liberty that will be at stake in the veto session is sufficient to form a connection.
“This is a religious liberty issue that impacts on religious institutions and people of conviction in a very deep and personal way,” Messer said.
The beauty of both Amendment 2 and SB 749, Messer said, is that they both cut through political rhetoric and get to the heart of what citizens want.
“You’ve got a lot of people out here who are concerned about the issues but turned off by the politics,” said Messer, noting that SB 749 is about pro-life and religious liberty. “The general public wants to see both of those issues upheld without all this complicated, rancorous politics where people create all kinds of justification arguments. Don’t tell me you’re pro-life personally but publicly, as an elected official, you have to vote pro-choice. That’s a bunch of garbage. You are the way you vote.”
Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon has yet to weigh in on Amendment 2, but his stance on SB 749—a veto in July—could not be clearer. The Affordable Care Act is now law, but the timing of its implementation in Missouri is unknown due in part to Nixon being noncommittal on how he views the socialized health care plans of Democrat President Barack Obama
“He’s trying to walk a tightrope with conservatives on one side and progressive liberals on the other side rather than giving clear leadership,” Messer said. “Our governor needs to stand up and speak for the people of Missouri. He is our governor. I’m not seeing him do that on this topic because it’s too politically hard for him to do it.”
The threshold of victory for SB 749 is not nearly as high as the 83 percent ballot box standard for Amendment 2. This time 67 percent will do. That figure represents the “yes” bloc of representatives and senators at the State Capitol that will be required in two separate votes for a successful override.
“Missouri Baptists need to prayerfully and diplomatically contact their elected representatives and ask them if they’re planning to attend the veto session and if they are prepared to vote to override the governor’s veto on Senate Bill 749,” Messer said. “Lawmakers fielding those phone calls, letters, post cards, emails—however form you wish to communicate between now and Sept. 12—it’s very important that you get it done.”