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2/16/2007 5:17:24 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia: Calls needed for Monday Morning Religious Freedom Act

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Virginia: Calls needed for Monday Morning Religious Freedom Act

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

We are approaching the last hurdle for the Religious Freedom Act which
will bring tremendous freedom for homeschoolers and the free exercise
of religion in Virginia.

On Monday at 8:00 a.m. the Senate Committee on Courts and Justice will
vote on the Virginia RFA.

Home School Legal Defense Association is planning on testifying at the
meeting; also testifying will be representatives from various
religious groups and Bill Thro from Virginia Attorney General's
office.

We need you to call the members of the committee and to attend this
hearing if at all possible.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call members of the Senate Committee for Courts and Justice and
give them this message. The Virginia legislature will be in session
over the weekend, so calls can continue through Monday.

"Please vote in favor of HB 3082, the Religious Freedom Act. This bill
protects one of the most important freedoms in the state of
Virginia--religious freedom."

MEMBERS OF THE COURTS AND JUSTICE COMMITTEE

Stolle (Chairman), (804) 698-7508
email: district08@sov.state.va.us

Saslaw, (804) 698-7535
email: district35@sov.state.va.us

Marsh, (804) 698-7516
email: district16@sov.state.va.us

Quayle, (804) 698-7513
email: district13@sov.state.va.us

Norment, (804) 698-7503
email: district03@sov.state.va.us

Howell, (804) 698-7532
email: district32@sov.state.va.us

Lucas, (804) 698-7518
email: district18@sov.state.va.us

Edrwards, (804) 698-7521
email: district21@sov.state.va.us

Reynolds, (804) 698-7520
email: district20@sov.state.va.us

Puller, (804) 698-7536
email: district36@sov.state.va.us

Rerras, (804) 698-7506
email: district06@sov.state.va.us

Blervins, (804) 698-751
email: district14@sov.state.va.us

Cuccinelli, (804) 698-7537
email: district37@sov.state.va.us

Obershain, (804) 698-7526
email: district26@sov.state.va.us

McDougle, (804) 698-7504
email: district04@sov.state.va.us

You can also reach the senators via the capitol switchboard at (804)
698-7410 or (804) 698-1470. Or you can use our legislative toolbox at
http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find the senators contact information.

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 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 HB 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."

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 Virginia by supporting the
Virginia RFRA!

Thanks again for your calls!

Sincerely Yours,

Chris Klicka
Senior Counsel

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