House of Worship Protection Act challenged by federal lawsuit

  • Digital Journal
  • Church and State are once again in court.

Church, meet State. A law prohibiting the disruption of worship services in Missouri is set to go into effect next Tuesday. But first it must face a court challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Political Fix reports that the ACLU branch covering eastern Missouri filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests and Voice of the Faithful-Kansas City.

The law makes it a misdemeanor to “disturb the order and solemnity of the worship.” It specifically prohibits profanity and “rude or indecent behavior,” as well as intimidation of people entering a house of worship. Those found guilty of violating the law could face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. The lawsuit maintains that the law’s language is too vague and infringes on free-speech rights. SNAP and Voice of the Faithful have previously led protests outside churches over sexual-abuse allegations. In 2008, a federal judge struck down the Missouri law that attempted to ban picketing at funerals.

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