If you were thinking about going around to a bunch of churches today, opening those big front doors and shouting obscenities at the old people within, don’t bother. It’s illegal now.
One [Missouri’s Republican-controlled Legislature] measure makes it a misdemeanor to interrupt a “house of worship” with profane language, rude or indecent behavior or noise that breaks the solemnity of the service. Penalties could include up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
“house of worship” and “breaks the solemnity of the service” sure do sound awfully vague. Sure showing out “Hey Jesus! You may have risen from the dead but your hair cut didn’t make it past the 80s! You’ve got a Winger shirt under those robes don’t you!” is probably going to get you arrested now, and that’s a damn shame, but what about the guy that’s always coughing too much? There’s always a “coughing too much” guy, so what’s his deal? That’s ok? What if you’re cool with it, but the guy sitting in front of him catching salavia cast-off with the back of his head thinks differently? Maybe it’s ruining the solemnity of the service for him? What to do? Hold up mass for a quick vote to see if Mr. Coughsalot gets a six-month ride in the pokey? This law doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? Does this only apply to churches we all like? What about that “God Hates [Everyone]” church? Can we interrupt their “service”? We’re guessing Muslim services don’t count as long as you’re interrupting them to tell everyone how they’re going to hell? It might not be written in there, but we’re pretty sure that’s the intent. We’ve seen a few of these dumb-ass Missouri laws before.
The measure is already under fire because of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, and because it’s stupid. The hearing is set for September 11th, because that’s the day we set aside now to squabble over stupid things in the name of protecting freedom of the speech you approve of, and calling each other terrorists for stupid reasons.