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5/30/2003 2:43:32 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
North Carolina--Religious Freedom at Stake: Your Calls Needed

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Good news! After your outpouring of calls in response to HSLDA's last
alert, House Bill 403, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed
the House Ways and Means Committee.

We have one more committee to pass to get the bill to the floor for a
vote by the entire House. The sponsor, Representative Russell Capps,
is urging us to call the chairman and members of the Judiciary II
Committee immediately.

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental foundations blocks for
the right to homeschool. Your calls will make the difference.

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,
H.B. 403, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

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

Representatives on Judiciary II Committee:

Representative Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. (D), chairman, 919-715-3001
Representative G. Wayne Goodwin (D), vice chair, 919-733-5823
Representative Tim Moore (R), vice chair, 919-733-4838
Representative Bonner, 919-733-5803
Representative Bordsen, 919-733-5820
Representative Farmer Butterfield, 919-733-5898
Representative Walend, 919-715-4466

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

Rep. Ellis
Rep. Gulley
Rep. Stam

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 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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