While reviewing Missouri Church/State issues, I found HB 728. The summary explains its intent:
“This bill specifies that, except if the party in interest is a minor, in any action involving the separation of church and state, such action will be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest.”
This is an end-around run for forcing complainants in First Amendment violation cases to identify themselves and face ridicule from the people who wish the United States to be a Christian nation. It will nullify the First Amendment’s guaranty that the government will not establish a religion nor will it prevent anyone from practicing their religious beliefs, including the rights of non-believers.
This proposed law may also be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment which states:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The requirement of forcing the naming of the plaintiffs in only Church/State separation cases denies that person or persons equal protection that is given in all other civil law suits. It also may be a violation of the intent of RSMo 507.010, which permits the names of the plaintiffs to be anonymous under certain conditions.
The hearing for HB728 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26 at 5:00pm at the Capitol Building in House Hearing Room 5. I urge you to be there to defeat this proposed law before it makes its way to a House vote.