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6/24/2009 2:29:16 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana: Urgent--Please Call Now to Help Pass Religious Freedom Amendment!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 24, 2009

Louisiana: Urgent--Please Call Now to Help
Pass Religious Freedom Amendment!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Representative Cameron Henry introduced a Religious Freedom Amendment
to the Louisiana Constitution earlier this year. House Bill 340 is an
excellent bill that, if passed, will strengthen religious freedom in
Louisiana. Under this bill the government would be prohibited from
burdening the free exercise of religion unless they can demonstrate "a
compelling governmental interest in infringing upon the specific
(religious) expression" and there is "no other less burdensome
alternative."

However, time is running out. Your calls are needed now to help ensure
H.B. 340 is passed before the legislative session ends this week.
Please call both your state representative and senator. The bill
should be voted on by tomorrow, and we expect a very close vote in the
House.

ACTION SUGGESTED:

Please contact both your state representative and senator. If you can,
call and email each of them. In your own words, urge them to vote in
favor of House Bill 340 in order to ensure the protection of religious
freedom in Louisiana. You could say something like:

"Please vote in favor of House Bill 340, the Religious Freedom
Amendment. Religious freedom in Louisiana should be protected at the
highest level possible. H.B. 340 will ensure that religious liberty
will not be unnecessarily burdened by government. Thank you for your
support of the Religious Freedom Amendment."

You should not identify yourself as a homeschooler. Instead identify
yourself as a Louisiana resident and concerned constituent.

To find your state representative and state senate please go to HSLDA
legislative toolbox at: http://www.hslda.org/toolbox. You will be able
to find both the phone number and e-mail of your elected officials.


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 House Bill 340 will raise the standard of protection for
religious freedom in Louisiana for individuals, homeschool parents,
churches, and all who desire to freely exercise their religious
beliefs.

If passed, the Louisiana Religious Freedom Amendment will restore the
high standard of protection for religious liberty previously
guaranteed in the federal RFRA and earlier Supreme Court decisions.
Under the Louisiana Religious Freedom Amendment, 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 . To see
the Louisiana Religious Freedom Amendment go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=6667 .

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 Louisiana by supporting
the Religious Freedom Amendment!

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like to join, please
visit http://www.hslda.org/join/join.asp .

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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