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3/20/2009 4:54:46 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
West Virginia--Calls Needed Now to Protect Religious Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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West Virginia--Calls Needed Now to Protect Religious Freedom

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

In 1997, U.S. Supreme Court flip-flopped and dramatically lowered the
level of protection available for religious freedom. House Bill 3233,
filed March 19, would restore the same protection that existed before
the Court's lamentable decision.

Because of the 1997 Supreme Court decision, religious freedom cannot
be restored to the whole nation at once--it must be done on a
state-by-state basis. More than a dozen states have already done so.

West Virginia now has an opportunity to be added to the list of states
with solid protection for religious freedom. We need your help!

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call 7 members of the House Judiciary and Senate Judiciary
committees listed below. Your message can be as simple as "Please
vote in favor of H.B. 3233, 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. Time is short,
so we need to work quickly.

CONTACT INFORMATION

If your last name begins with A-D, call those in group 1. If it
begins with E-H, call group 2. If it begins with I-L, call group 3.
If it begins with M-P, call group 4. If Q-T, call group 5. Others
call group 6.

Senate Judiciary

Group 1
Jeffrey Kessler - Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7880

Michael Oliverio II
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7919

Richard Browning
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7807

H. Truman Chafin
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7808

Dan Foster
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7866

Evan H. Jenkins
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7956

William R. Laird
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7849

Group 2
Joseph M. Minard
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7904

Corey Palumbo
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7854

Herb Snyder
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7957

Ron Stollings
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7939

Bob Williams
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7995

Jack Yost
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7984

Clark S. Barnes
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7973

Group 3
Don Caruth
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7901

Frank Deem
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7970

Mike Hall
Capitol Phone: (304) 357-7843

House Judiciary

Group 3 (continued)
Carrie Webster - Chair
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3252

Tim Miley
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3248

John N. Ellem
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3394

Patrick Lane
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3275

Group 4
Larry W. Barker
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3149

Bonnie Brown
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3106

Mike Caputo
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3249

Michael T. Ferro
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3111

Barbara Evans Fleischauer
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3169

John R. Frazier
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3396

Mark Hunt
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3392

Group 5
Tal Hutchins
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3270

Linda Longstreth
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3124

Harold Michael
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3340

Clif Moore
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3189

Alex J. Shook
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3173

Sally Susman
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3183

Robert C. Tabb
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3274

Group 6
Danny Wells
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3287

William R. Wooton
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3164

Bill Hamilton
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3167

John Overington
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3148

Robert A. Schadler
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3191

Patti Eagloski Schoen
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3141

Kelli Sobonya
Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3175

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;

> 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. 3233 will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in West Virginia for individuals, homeschool
parents, churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their
religious beliefs.

If passed, the West 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 West 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--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. Support the West Virginia RFRA!

Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff

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