Bill would make disrupting worship a crime

If the Missouri House and Gov. Jay Nixon agree, later this year it will be a crime to "disrupt a house of worship."

Senators gave the proposal their preliminary approval Wednesday on a voice vote, with a final vote needed - perhaps as early as today - to send the measure to the House.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, told colleagues a person could be charged with the crime if he or she "knowingly disturbs a building used for religious purposes by the use of profanity, by rude or indecent behavior or by making some unreasonable noises."

He said the crime also could be charged if a person "intentionally or attempts to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person lawfully exercising their right of religious freedom, or (are) seeking access to a house of worship, if they use force, threat or physical obstruction."