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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Local leaders pleased prayer amendment passed

  • As the Missouri primary election returns were being tallied Tuesday night, a 9:15 p.m. announcement came from the election officials - declaring Constitutional amendment No. 2 approved. This means public prayer will be permitted in Missouri, provided it does not disturb the peace.


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  • As the Missouri primary election returns were being tallied Tuesday night, a 9:15 p.m. announcement came from the election officials - declaring Constitutional amendment No. 2 approved. This means public prayer will be permitted in Missouri, provided it does not disturb the peace.
    At 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, the statewide election returns showed the amendment passing with 81 percent of the votes.
    In Marion County the vote was 92.48 percent in favor, with 4,294 votes for and 349 opposed.
    Ralls County totals were very similar, with 92.59 percent in favor with 2,186 votes and 175 against the amendment.
    Among Hannibalians most pleased to see the overwhelming approval of the public prayer amendment is Minister Dixie Forte, who explained she and her prayer partners have been “praying and praying” to see this happen. “I would like to say that God came through,” she said.
    “We were praying and praying. Every prayer service that we had (at Tabernacle of Praise) - with the intercessory on Sunday evening at 5 o’clock -  we were praying for this prayer to be continued wherever we went, wherever we prayed, on the street, in our homes, in our churches, our parks, even in our restaurants.”
    Not everyone to whom she talked about the amendment was in agreement, Forte added. “They thought if we prayed anywhere it should be really quiet, so it wouldn’t disturb anyone.”
    As the public schools comply with the amendment, Forte said, “I will be talking to the superintendent of schools. She (Dr. Jill Janes) worked with us to be able to go out there and pray around the poles. We will go to every school and pray around the flagpole,” and Forte is happy that now this will not be the students’ only opportunity for public prayer.
    Before the statewide approval was announced, Forte expressed disappointment that more local people were not voting on Tuesday. She had been to some local polls and by late afternoon had learned some had only a handful of voters.
    Local pastor pleased,
    adding we already
    had right to pray
    “I expected it to be overwhelmingly approved and I’m glad for that,” said Pastor Jeff Anderson of Calvary Baptist Church in Hannibal about the prayer amendment. “But my first thought is, whether or not I could pray or my students could pray or anyone could pray is a not question for governments to decide.
    “That decision has already been made in the heart of most Christians,” Anderson added. “I am pleased that so many people recognized there needs to be that freedom to pray, but I also want to remind everybody that no government can take away my right to pray.
    “I am pleased that it is going to allow students to not violate their Biblical principles they live by on homework assignments.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Overall I am very pleased,” Anderson continued. “I voted for it and am glad it passed. But part of me wonders - if we could vote for it, could we later vote against it?
    “My point is it’s not a question for governments to decide. They can’t take away my rights. We already have the right guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States.”
    Schools will
    “abide by what
    it says’ - superintendent
    After learning the amendment had been approved, Dr. Jill Janes, Hannibal superintendent of schools, said “I think it just offers students another opportunity to express themselves at school.
    “We will learn how to abide by the amendment,” she continued. “Once we read the law and figure out the exact wording we will abide by what it says.”
    She expects no problems. “I think it goes back to common sense,” Janes said. “I think people in this community have a lot of common sense and will use that wisely.
    “I think it’s wonderful they (students) have the opportunity to express themselves” at the prayer around the flagpoles, she said, “and now they have an opportunity to express themselves in another way.”
    Regarding how it will affect the school’s lesson plans, she explained, “It’s hard to say. We will wait and see and deal with it as it happens.”
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