JEFFERSON CITY – In addition to pro-life victories reported in the May 21 edition of The Pathway, Missouri Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission (CLC) saw success regarding many facets of Christian living during the 2013 General Assembly.
“The CLC has not been sitting by idle,” said Kerry Messer, CLC lobbyist.
“As ambassadors of Christ and representing the CLC, it’s our responsibility to be salt and light in every area of conduct.”
Among the battles fought and won was the passage of a bill which prohibits any state or local government entity – including public school buildings, city parks, or any public property – from banning or restricting the practice, mention, celebration or discussion of federal holidays.
In other words, Messer said, “We have won a major battle in a war against Christmas in the State of Missouri.”
He explained that no one in control of a public property can change the name to some other designation. “However,” he warned, “there is also a not-so-quiet war building against Thanksgiving as a federal holiday.”
Another religious victory came in the form of a bill to allow religious books to be used in public schools for literary value as long as they are not used to promote the establishment of religion. While the original bill did not make it through the Legislature, an amended bill containing the provision has passed both houses and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
Also awaiting the governor’s signature is Senate Bill 267, the Civil Liberties Preservation Act, specifying the priority of state and federal law over any kind of foreign law or treaty.
Gambling interests were unsuccessful in expanding their interests in Missouri when House Bill 747 (HB 747) passed the House but not the Senate. It would have allowed Missouri to extend credit to casino patrons who run out of cash.
Despite claims that it would only apply to high rollers who travel around the country to gamble, HB 747 was written so that anybody who owns property could qualify; and casinos could sue and tax property away from over-extended gamblers. Casinos made several unsuccessful attempts to amend the provision onto other bills.
Earlier in the legislative year, language in the state budget bill would have allowed electronic video gambling machines at gas stations in the state. Messer said the language was taken out of the budget before it went to the governor, but there are questions regarding the Lottery Commission’s ability to pursue that agenda even without specific language in the budget.
In the area of child welfare, the CLC was among those who successfully fought to retain provisions of the Amy Hester Student Protection Act which was designed to protect students from sexual predators in school employment.
“Schools don’t want to be embarrassed by bad news. The attacks were coming from those seeming to be more concerned about protecting the reputation of their local schools rather than the students within those schools,” Messer observed.
Messer also described battles behind the scenes to keep the homosexual lobby from taking over public school bullying policies to advance its agenda.
“Sadly, the legislation to deal with cyber-bullying became a victim of that battle and died rather than passing because a Senator followed through with her threats to veto the cyber crime bullying legislation unless it had the homosexual agenda in it.”