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2/9/2007 10:29:58 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Utah: Calls Needed on Religious Freedom Bill to Protect Homeschoolers

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 8, 2007

Utah: Calls Needed on Religious Freedom Bill to Protect Homeschoolers

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Good news! The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Senate Bill 111, has
recently been introduced by Senator D. Chris Buttars.

Homeschoolers now have an opportunity to win a solid legislative
victory for religious freedom. In order to achieve this victory, the
Home School Legal Defense Association urges you to immediately contact
your senator to support the Utah Religious Freedom Restoration Act,
Senate Bill 111.

This Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in your state will be a
back-up support for you to maintain your homeschool freedom. We are
using these RFRAs to help homeschoolers to successfully avoid onerous
requirements under the homeschool laws in Pennsylvania and Florida.

As of October 2006, by God's grace, more than a quarter of the states
have acted to protect the religious freedom of the citizens in their
states. Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, South
Carolina, Texas, Idaho, New Mexico, Missouri, Pennsylvania,
Washington, and Oklahoma have passed their own state Religious Freedom
Restoration Acts. Alabama made religious freedom even more secure by
specifically amending its state constitution to recognize religious
freedom as a fundamental right protected by the compelling interest
test.

HSLDA's legal staff has worked with religious freedom coalitions in
the states (and the national religious freedom coalition), helped
draft legislation, lobbied individual state legislators, attorney
generals, and governor offices, sent out numerous email alerts, and
provided testimony at some legislative hearings in order to advance
these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. The phone calls of thousands
of homeschoolers particularly contributed to the passage of the RFRAs
in Illinois, Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, Idaho, New Mexico and
Oklahoma. Illinois was successful after two HSLDA email alerts and
tremendous outpouring of calls by homeschoolers persuaded legislators
to override the governor's veto.

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental foundation blocks for the
right to homeschool. Let us help pass the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act in Utah this year!

REQUESTED ACTION

1) Please call your own senator and give him or her this message:

"Protect religious freedom in Utah! Please vote to support the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 111!"

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler for these calls
because this bill will help protect everyone's religious freedom.

To learn the name and contact information of your senator or
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,
Utah 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.

Passage of this act will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Utah for individuals, homeschool parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Utah RFRA will restore the high standard of protection
for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal RFRA and
earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Utah 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 senator now to restore
protection for religious liberty in Utah by supporting SB 111!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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like this level of service?

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1100

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