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5/29/2003 5:29:36 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Missouri--Legislature Passes Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 29, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Good news! The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), Senate Bill
12, has passed the Missouri House and Senate.

Thanks in part to the diligence of homeschoolers calling their
legislators, the Missouri RFRA has finally passed after three
previous years of defeat. When it comes to defending our parental
and religious liberties, we cannot take "no" for an answer.

Now we need you to make one more call to the Governor Bob Holden to
ensure the passage of this bill that will give you better protection
of your religious freedom.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call Governor Holden immediately and give him this message:

"Please sign into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 12.
Missouri needs this protection of our religious liberties."

Note that Senator Kinder's office (the bill's sponsor) has asked us
not to have you identify yourself as a homeschooler for these calls
since the Governor does not support homeschooling.

Governor Bob Holden
Telephone: 573-751-3222
FAX: 573-751-1495
Email: mogov@mail.state.mo.us

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,
the State of Missouri 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-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, homeschool 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 Governor Bob Holden to sign SB 12 into law and restore
protection for religious liberty in Missouri!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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