A bill proposed by a Missouri state legislator would criminalize distracting actions or words that disturb worship services. The measure specifically targets protestors congregating outside churches, cathedrals, synangogues, and other places of worship who disrupt the services within with profanity, yelling, or other disruptive behavior.
According to the Associated Press, the bill, which has passed the state Senate, “would make it a misdemeanor to intentionally disturb or interrupt a ‘house of worship’ with profane language, rude or indecent behavior, or noise that breaks the solemnity of the service. The crime would be punishable by as long as six months in jail and a $500 fine, with repeat offenders facing increasingly harsher penalties.”
State Senator Robert Mayer, chief sponsor of S.B. 755, said he introduced the measure because of the increased incidences of individuals and groups disturbing worshipers as part of protest activity. “It’s something that you wouldn’t think you’d have to come forth with,” Dexter said of the proposal. “But we’re getting some protests at mosques and synagogues and churches and even outside the church buildings on the actual church property. It’s something that’s not that rampant and not frequent right now, but certainly this would be helpful to keep this from happening in the future.”
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