Rabbi Saperstein: "Missouri is dangerously fanning the flames of a false war on religion in a time of divisive politics that must be reigned in to prevent the splintering of one nation, under God."
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WASHINGTON, D.C. August 8, 2012 - In response to the passage of Missouri Amendment 2, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“Missouri voters were misled at the polls yesterday by a ballot measure perpetuating the claim of a war being waged on religion across America. The ostensible reasons for this amendment are unnecessary because the stated goals of the measure are already protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In its broad language, Amendment 2 reflects dangerous encroachment on our constitutional standards.
While it continues to protect the right to be free from an establishment of state religion or an infringement on the exercise of religion, a point clearly articulated by the First Amendment, it also throws open the doors for sectarian prayer at government meetings, religious invocations at public school assemblies and graduations, and permits students to opt out of any assignment that they decide violates their religious beliefs. This amendment extends beyond the protection of religious expression and erodes the religious freedom of minority faith traditions. Amendment 2 further inflames religious tensions and raises serious questions about the role of religion in public life.
We already have an amendment protecting the right to exercise our religion in the public square — it is called the First Amendment, and it has fostered a nation of diverse and vibrant religious traditions, where a powerful and inspirational variety of religions, credos and origins have been able to grow and to prosper. Missouri is dangerously fanning the flames of a false war on religion in a time of divisive politics that must be reigned in to prevent the splintering of one nation, under God.”