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Date:
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3/26/2003 11:59:49 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
North Carolina--Calls Needed on Religious Freedom Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 26, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Good news! The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, House Bill 403, was
reintroduced again this year after being stalled in last year's
legislative session.

Homeschoolers now have an opportunity to win a solid legislative
victory for religious freedom. In order to achieve this victory, the
Home School Legal Defense Association urges you to immediately
contact your state representative to support the North Carolina
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, House Bill 403.

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental foundations blocks for
the right to homeschool.

REQUESTED ACTION

1) Please call as many members of the committee below and give them
this message:

"Protect religious freedom in North Carolina! Please vote to support
the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, H.B. 403"

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler for these
calls.

Representatives on the House Ways and Means Committee:

Rep. Michael Decker, Chairman, 919-733-5988
Rep. Louis Pate, Chairman, 919-715-0873
Rep. J. Curtis Blackwood, 919-733-5828
Rep. Mitch Gillespie, 919-733-5987
Rep. G. Wayne Goodwin, 919-733-5849
Rep. James Harrell, 919-715-3003
Rep. Maggie Jeffus, 919-733-5191
Rep. Earl Jones, 919-733-5825
Rep. Paul Luebke, 919-733-7663
Rep. W. Franklin Mitchell, 919-733-5931
Rep. Martin Nesbitt, 919-715-3001
Rep. Earline Parmon, 919-715-2530
Rep. Steve Wood, 919-733-5749

Below are the sponsors of H.B. 403 who sit on this committee. There
is no need call them.

Rep. Jean Preston, 919-733-5706
Rep. John Rhodes, 919-733-5530
Rep. Arlie Culp, 919-733-5865

2) Also call your own state representative and give him the same
message as above.

The general number for the North Carolina General Assembly is 919-733-
7928. To learn the name of your representative, use HSLDA's
Legislative Toolbox at: http://www.hslda.org/toolbox. (If you do not
have Internet access, call your county clerk's office and ask for
your state representative's name).

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 homeschooling. Under this minimal standard,
North Carolina can override a homeschooler 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 Boerne decision, state and federal courts
across the country have diminished religious freedom in many ways.
For example:

> The long standing practice of pastor congregation confidentiality
has been repeatedly violated;

> A church sponsored 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 ministry 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 North Carolina groups was formed to
support the North Carolina 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 North Carolina for
individuals, homeschool parents, churches, and all who desire to
freely exercise their religious beliefs.

If passed, the North Carolina RFRA, will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the North Carolina
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 fulfilling the state's compelling interest
and is the least restrictive way of doing so. 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 representative now to
restore protection for religious liberty in North Carolina by
supporting H.B. 403!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel


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