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2/2/2007 2:46:19 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia--Calls Needed Now to Protect Religious Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 2, 2007

Virginia--Calls Needed Now to Protect Religious Freedom

Dear HSLDA members and friends,

Homeschoolers have an opportunity to win a solid legislative victory
for religious freedom in the Assembly. The success or failure of this
effort to protect one of our most precious freedoms may be determined
by your willingness to call your delegate.

In order to achieve this victory, the Home School Legal Defense
Association urges you to immediately contact your delegate and ask
them to support House Bill 3082, the Virginia Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (which has been introduced by Delegate Scott
Lingamfelter at HSLDA's request).

The bill passed its first test in a vote of 7-3 in the subcommittee on
Civil Courts earlier this week. It is expected to pass the full
committee soon.

The full Assembly has to vote on the Virginia Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (RFRA) by the end of the day Tuesday, February 6. That
is "crossover day" when bills that fully pass the Assembly pass over
to the Senate and vice-versa.

HSLDA has helped the Religious Freedom Restoration Act pass in 13
states so far. It was passed in a bi-partisan manner in every
instance. We are using them to successfully defend homeschoolers'
rights in Pennsylvania and Florida.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call your delegate now (no later than Tuesday) via the capitol
switchboard at (804) 698-1500 or (804) 698-1470. Or use our
legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find your
delegate's contact information.

Please give your delegate this message:

"Please vote in favor of H.B. 3082, the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act. It gives crucial protection to one of our most precious rights,
the right to exercise one's religion freely."

It is not necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler since
protecting religious freedom crosses all boundaries.

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 can 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 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 H.B. 3082 will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Virginia for individuals, homeschool parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Virginia RFRA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Virginia 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."

In a somewhat ironic twist, Congress passed a law giving this higher
level of protection--but only to prisoners! Prisoners now have
greater protection for their religious liberty than you do. This must
be changed.

For a more detailed information on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts,
visit our website at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3691 .

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 Virginia by supporting the
Virginia RFRA!

Sincerely Yours,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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