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2/4/2005 4:44:47 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Ohio--Calls Needed to Keep Pastors from Becoming Agents of the State

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 4, 2005


Ohio--Calls Needed to Keep Pastors from Becoming Agents of the State


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Senator Spada, who introduced Senate Bill 100 last year, has now
introduced Senate Bill 17, which would accomplish the same purpose.
Last year SB 100 failed. Now we have the opportunity to make certain
this bill, SB 17, fails as well.

Action is needed now to stop this bill from turning pastors into
agents of the state by requiring them to report any suspicions of
child abuse or neglect to civil authorities!


ACTION REQUESTED

Please call the members of the Judiciary - Criminal Justice Committee
and give them this message, "Please vote no on SB 17. Pastors are not
agents of the State."

Judiciary - Criminal Justice Committee

Jim Jordan, Chair 614/466-7584
Patricia Clancy, Vice Chair 614/466-8068
Marc Dann, Ranking Minority Member 614/466-7182
Mark L. Mallory 614/466-5980
Steve Austria 614/466-3780
Kimberly A. Zurz 614/466-7041
David Goodman 614/466-8064
Timothy Grendell 614/644-7718
J. Kirk Schuring 614/466-0626


BACKGROUND

Ever since the scale of the abuses in the Catholic Church became
public, state legislatures have been "cracking down" on clergy. HSLDA
members have managed to defeat or improve legislation in a number of
states. Now it is Ohio's turn.

Unfortunately, turning pastors into spies for the government will do
far more harm than good. Pastors need to have discretion to counsel
and help families with problems without dragging social workers into
the situation. Social worker involvement can make conditions worse.

Under current law, pastors and priests are free to report child abuse
or neglect. However, this bill will apply criminal penalties to
pastors who do not believe they can report a suspicion in good
conscience or believe the neglect will not be repeated after thorough
biblical counseling. Since this bill sets up a conflict between a
pastor's conscience and the criminal law, it is fraught with
constitutional problems.

Sincerely,


Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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