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1/24/2005 9:23:14 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Indiana--Calls Needed--Religious Freedom Hangs in the Balance

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 24, 2005


Indiana--Calls Needed--Religious Freedom Hangs in the Balance


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Homeschoolers 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 the state legislature and
ask its members to co-sponsor and support House Bill 1104, the Indiana
Religious Freedom Act, which has been introduced by Representative
Cindy Noe.

HSLDA has helped pass Religious Freedom Acts in 13 other states so
far. We are using them to successfully defend homeschoolers' rights in
Pennsylvania and Florida.


REQUESTED ACTION

1. Call your state Representative immediately and give him this
message (you do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler).

"Please protect religious freedom for Indiana citizens! Co-sponsor and
support HB 1104, the Religious Freedom Act."

You can contact your state Representative in the following ways:

- If you have Internet access, go to HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find out who your legislators are and
their phone numbers.

- If you do not have Internet access, call your county clerk's office
to find out who your Senator and Representative are. Then call the
Indiana House of Representatives at (800) 382-9841 and ask to be
transferred to your Representatives.


BACKGROUND

By a 6-3 majority, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the City of Boerne v.
Flores, struck down the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act
(RFRA). 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 Indiana can now override a
homeschooler'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 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 Indiana groups are working to support the Indiana RFRA.
Passage of this act will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Indiana for individuals, homeschool parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Indiana RFRA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Indiana 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 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" so the state will not always win.

Don't let one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denigrate this
priceless inalienable right. Urge your state Representative to restore
protection for religious liberty in Indiana by supporting the Indiana
RFRA, HB 1104 introduced by Representative Cindy Noe!


For Freedom,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel
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-> Is customer service an art or a science?

No one can be everywhere at once. And you can't be at home,
teaching your children, while monitoring your state's legislature.
Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state
legislation for you-watching and listening carefully for any
proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool.
Join HSLDA today-we'll watch out for your future.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1942

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