Cong. Jason Smith Seeks Answer on Baptism Permits

SALEM – Congressman Jason Smith sent a letter to Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Bill Black seeking answers on news that the Ozark National Scenic Riverways will now require a permit and 48-hour notice before baptisms can occur in riverways.
The Salem News reported on Tuesday, Aug. 20, that the “Ozark National Scenic Riverways is now actively enforcing a policy that would require churches to apply for a special use permit in order to baptize on the riverways.”
“Federal agencies are truly out of control,” Smith said. “First they try to regulate children working on their family farms and now they are trying to regulate Baptisms. I am going to fight these rogue Washington agencies that seem intent on regulating every aspect of our life here in Missouri.”
In a letter to Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Bill Black, Smith questioned the National Parks Services’ policy.
“…Why have traditional baptismal services been singled out? Individuals are free to fish on the river, or float it, without providing two-days notice. Why does the use of the river for a baptism, a simple service that may only take a matter of minutes, require a special use permit,” asked Smith.
“One would hope that the answer is not, ‘Because the National Park Service wants to limit the number of baptisms performed on the river,’” Smith said.