Missouri Bill Could Get Atheist Filing Church/State Separation Lawsuits Killed

Lives could be in danger if the bill is passed.

Several Republican lawmakers in Missouri want to pass the HB 728 bill. This piece of legislation would take aim towards atheists and liberals who want to continue the American ethos of separation of government from religion. The bill would compromise the physical and mental security of plaintiffs who file cases to maintain the religion/state separation by removing the ability to file anonymously. State Representative Hardy Billington filed the bill. Billington is a Baptist who openly states his goal to “stand up for Christian values.” This politician wants atheists to be targeted and hounded.

Most of the plaintiffs in religion/state separation lawsuits are identified as initials which substitute their real names in court documents open for perusal to the public. At most, the plaintiffs adopt an anonymous identity like “John Doe.” There are ample reasons to justify this behavior as there is more than an even chance of religious people bullying or stalking them. Worse, they may even be murdered. It does not help that such cases sprung up where many of the people are extremely religious. Judges know this and allow the plaintiffs to use pseudonyms or use real names only through the safety of sealed documents.

HB 728 would make the religion/state separation plaintiffs be different from other litigants and expose them to immense risk. The unspoken aim of this bill is to weaponize the probable public harassment linked to the issue. The bill goes against the United States Constitution and is described as un-American. It will be much harder for secular organizations to enforce the Establishment Clause. The protection of Constitutional Rights will also be hampered.

The American Atheists organization has already begun to oppose the bill publicly. Eric Wells, the organization’s Assistant State Director responsible for Missouri, made a plea to the House Judiciary Committee in this regard. He stated that the separation of government and religion is enshrined in the United States Constitution and is one of the pillars of freedom of religion that all Americans enjoy. HB 728, however, would torpedo this vital freedom. It would make life difficult for those who suffe a violation of religious liberty and want to file cases against their incumbent governments. Wells urged everyone to vote against the highly dangerous bill.

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