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3/15/2007 11:36:39 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Virginia: Calls needed to the Governor for Religious Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 15, 2007

Virginia: Calls needed to the Governor for Religious Freedom

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

The RFA has passed the House and Senate and is now on Governor Tim
Kaine's desk. We have no indication of the governor's position
concerning this legislation.

Therefore, it is imperative that you call the governor's office and
urge him to sign the Religious Freedom Act.

This bill is extremely important in order to better protect religious
freedom in Virginia. We will join the 14 states that already have the
Religious Freedom Act.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call or email Governor Kaine and give him this message:

"Please sign the Religious Freedom Act into law. It gives crucial
protection to one of my most precious rights, the right to exercise my
religion freely."

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler, just as a
citizen who desires religious freedom protection.

Governor Kaine can be reached at (804) 786-2211, or via email through
his website at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3908 .

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 the rights of homeschoolers or other citizens
to freely exercise their 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 RFA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed in the federal
RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions. Under the Virginia RFA, 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 the governor to restore protection
for religious liberty in Virginia by supporting the Virginia RFA!

Sincerely Yours,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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