From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
Subject:

5/10/2002 6:07:29 PM
Christopher J. Klicka, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
Missouri--Urgent Calls Needed To Restore Religious Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 10, 2002

Dear HLSDA Members and Friends,

Home schoolers now have an opportunity to win a solid legislative
victory for religious freedom. The success or failure of this effort
to protect one of our most precious freedoms may be determined by
your willingness to call. In order to achieve this victory, the Home
School Legal Defense Association urges you to immediately contact
your state representatives to support the Missouri Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (SB 958). Senator Kinder introduced Senate Bill 958
in the Senate where it has already passed.

A hearing was held yesterday in the House Judiciary Committee but no
vote was taken. The chairman's office has indicated he will allow no
more votes before the end of the session.

We are so close! Calls are needed now to urge Chairman Monaco to
allow a vote on S.B. 958.

Please make copies of this e-lert and pass out to your church this
Sunday.

REQUESTED ACTION

(You do not need to identify yourself as a home schooler for these
calls).

1. Call the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Ralph Monaco at
573-751-9851 and ask him to allow a vote on S.B. 958 so it can be
voted on by the full House before the end of the session on May 17.

2. Call as many of the members of the Judiciary Committee and give
them this message:

"Vote to protect religious freedom in Missouri! Support the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act (SB 958)."

House Judiciary Committee
Willoughby, Philip, Vice Chair 573-751-6600
Boykins, Amber (Holly) 573-751-4415
Burcham, Tom 573-751-3455
Byrd, Richard 573-751-5956
Carnahan, Russ 573-751-4567
Champion, Norma 573-751-2583
Clayton, Robert 573-751-9614
Crowell, Jason 573-751-2459
Gaskill, Sam 573-751-9801
Hosmer, Craig 573-751-9474
Johnson, Connie "LaJoyce" 573-751-7605
Johnson, Rick 573-751-6625
Lograsso, Don 573-751-1487
Mayer, Robert 573-751-5457
Richardson, Mark L. 573-751-4039
Ridgeway, Luann 573-751-2238
Scheve, May 573-751-9472
Smith, Philip 573-751-9459
Villa, Thomas 573-751-0438

3. Call your state representative and give him or her this message:

"Vote to protect religious freedom in Missouri! Support the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act (SB 958). Please ask Rep. Ralph Monaco,
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to bring SB 958 to a vote to
allow it out of committee."

You can contact your state representative and state senator in the
following ways:

- If you know the name of your representative call the Clerk of the
House's office at (573) 751-3829 and ask to be transferred to your
representative.

- To learn the name of your representative or senator, use HSLDA's
Legislative Toolbox at: http://www.hslda.org/toolbox. You will need
your HSLDA membership number to access the toolbox. If you do not
have Internet access, call your county clerk's office and ask for
your state representative and senator's names.

BACKGROUND

On June 25, 1997, by a 6-3 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in
The City of Boerne v. Flores that the 1993 federal Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (RFRA) was unconstitutional. By doing this, the Court
gave the lowest level of protection to religious liberty--one of the
foundational freedoms of home schooling. Under this minimal standard,
the State of Missouri can override a home schooler or other citizen's
right to freely exercise his religious beliefs merely by proving that
its regulation is "reasonable." Since nearly all state regulations
can be determined to be "reasonable," Christians will lose.

Since the devastating U.S. Supreme Court Boerne decision, state and
federal courts across the country have diminished religious freedom
in many ways. For example:

- The long-standing practice of pastor-laity confidentiality has been
repeatedly violated;

- A Catholic hospital was denied accreditation for refusing to teach
abortion techniques;

- There have been conflicts with zoning ordinances, such as the
forced termination of a church ministry to the homeless because it
was located on the second floor of a building with no elevator; and

- A church was prohibited from feeding more than 50 people per day.

In response to the Court's crushing blow to religious freedom, a
broad coalition of various Missouri groups was formed to support the
Missouri RFRA. HSLDA is also working with a national coalition of
religious groups to bring additional support for the passage of this
bill. Passage of this act will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Missouri for individuals, home school parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Missouri RFRA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Missouri RFRA, if
an individual's religious belief is in conflict with a state
regulation, the state will have to prove, with evidence, that its
regulation is essential to fulfill the state's compelling interest
and is the least restrictive means. If the state fails to carry the
burden, the regulation must give way to the individual's religious
freedom. Restoring this protection for religious freedom will simply
"even the playing field."

Don't let one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denigrate this
priceless inalienable right. Urge your state senator and state
representative now to restore protection for religious liberty in
Missouri by supporting the Missouri RFRA!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
Senior Counsel of HSLDA

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