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5/30/2003 3:38:40 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon--Religious Freedom at Stake: Your Calls Needed

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 30, 2002

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Oregon homeschoolers 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 phone calls. House Bill 3586, the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is expected to pass the Oregon House
Judiciary Committee soon, so your calls are needed to your own state
representative.

Governor Kulongoski has met with Senator Bruce Starr and other
supporters of the RFRA. He has told them that he will veto the bill.
The supporters of the bill, however, think that they will be able to
override the governor's veto. Your calls are needed to prove the
governor is wrong and to restore religious liberty in Oregon.

REQUESTED ACTION

Call your state representative and give him or her the following
message in your own words:

"Support religious freedom for Oregon citizens. Vote 'Yes' on House
Bill 3586, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

You can find your state representative and his phone number by using
HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox, or by
calling the Oregon Legislative Liaison at 503-986-1000.

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 Oregon can override a home schooler's 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.

Passage of House Bill 3586 will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Oregon for individuals, homeschool parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Oregon RFRA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Oregon 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 a compelling state interest and is
the least restrictive means 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."

For a more detailed information on Religious Freedom Restoration
Acts, visit our website at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=14.

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 Oregon by supporting the
Oregon RFRA!

Very truly yours,

Christopher Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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