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3/12/2013 11:11:49 AM
Mike Smith--HSLDA
Nevada--Please Call to Support Religious Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Nevada--Please Call to Support Religious Freedom

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Sponsors: Senators Cegavske, Hutchison, Hammond, Hardy, Denis; Ford,
Goicoechea, Gustavson, Jones, Kieckhefer, Kihuen, Parks, Roberson,
Segerblom, Settelmeyer, Smith and Woodhouse

Summary:
A bill that will put Nevada on record as protecting religious freedom,
SB 192, http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17529 the Nevada
Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, will face a crucial hearing in
the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning. The senators need
to hear from you!

Historically, government agencies could push aside someone's right to
exercise their religion only if the government had a super good
reason, and used the least restrictive means possible. But freedom
lurched backward in 1990 when a U.S. Supreme Court case treated this
foundational right as if it were ordinary--empowering governments to
trump your religious freedom for virtually any reason.

When the public demanded change, a federal law was passed to restore
the historic level of protection. But in 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court
said the new federal law could not be used to hold back individual
states from violating the religious freedom of its citizens.

This gave states the green light to give your religious freedom the
lowest imaginable level of protection. But the Supreme Court left the
door open for states individually to pass laws giving more protection.

That is what SB 192 does. It puts Nevada on record as saying the
freedom to practice one's religion must be protected just as it was
before 1990.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call the Senate Judiciary Committee members listed below and
urge them to support SB 192. If one of the senators is your senator,
please mention that when you call.
Your message can be as simple as: "Please vote YES on SB 192. Please
put Nevada on record as protecting religious freedom."

To find who your senator is, use this link:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17527


If your senator is a cosponsor, please call to thank him or her!

CONTACT INFORMATION

Tick Segerblom - Chair, tsegerblom@sen.state.nv.us
(Work) 775-684-1422; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-8549

Ruben J. Kihuen - Vice Chair, Ruben.Kihuen@sen.state.nv.us
(Cell) 702-274-1707; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-1427

Aaron D. Ford, Aaron.Ford@sen.state.nv.us
(Cell) 702-772-5544; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-6502

Justin C. Jones, Justin.Jones@sen.state.nv.us
(Cell) 702-265-5878; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-1421

Greg Brower, Greg.Brower@sen.state.nv.us
(Work) 775-684-1419; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-1419

Scott Hammond, Scott.Hammond@sen.state.nv.us
(Home) 702-523-9055; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-1442

Mark Hutchison, Mark.Hutchison@sen.state.nv.us
(Work) 702-233-2049; (Leg. Bldg.) 775-684-1475

Or toll free: 800-978-2878, 800-995-9080, 800-992-0973; Northern
Nevada 775-684-6800, 775-684-6789; Southern Nevada 702-486-2626, Toll
Free Fax: 866-543-9941

BACKGROUND

Historically, citizens had the freedom to practice their religion
unless the state had a "compelling" reason to limit it and the state
did it in the "least restrictive" manner possible. The U.S. Supreme
Court upended this traditional level of protection in 1990 in the case
of Employment Division v. Smith. The Court shocked the nation and
ruled that the government can restrict religious freedom if it has a
merely "rational" reason.

That is the lowest level of protection possible for any right!
Citizens almost always lose when the government only needs to show it
has a "rational" reason to restrict a freedom.

In response, U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed, and then-president
Clinton signed, the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A
wide spectrum of organizations supported it.

But in 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in The City of Boerne v.
Flores that it was not constitutional to apply the federal Religious
Freedom Restoration Act to individual states. The Court gave the green
light to individual states to give religious liberty--one of the
foundational freedoms of homeschooling--the lowest level of protection
possible.

Since Boerne, 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.

If passed, the Nevada PRFA will restore the high standard of
protection for religious liberty previously guaranteed. If an
individual's religious belief is in conflict with a state regulation,
the state will have to prove that its regulation furthers 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 "level 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.

Some will argue that we should just let "common law" keep on
developing as it has. The flaw in that argument is that it ignores
the fact that the reason governments exist in the first place is to
protect our rights (read the Declaration of Independence). It's only
when the legislature abdicates its duty to protect our rights that the
job by default falls back into the lap of the courts. Yes, if the
legislature is silent, the courts will fill the void with their own
opinions. But that is the least democratic way to address the issue
of rights.

You may be told that the Nevada Constitution already protects
religious expression. Unfortunately, neither the Nevada Constitution
nor the U.S. Constitution specifies whether religious freedom must be
given the strong protection of a fundamental right, or whether it can
be given the minimal protection of an ordinary right. SB 192 fills
that gap.

For more information on religious freedom restoration acts in general,
visit our website at: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17217

Don't let one decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denigrate this
priceless inalienable right. Urge your Nevada state senator now to
restore protection for religious liberty in Nevada by supporting the
Nevada PRFA!

HSLDA and the Nevada Homeschool Network are united in supporting this
bill.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely Yours,

J. Michael Smith,
President, Home School Legal Defense Association

P.S. We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve
you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you
consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support
enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling
freedom for all. Join now:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17528

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-> How many of your friends would pay your legal fees?

As a member of HSLDA, you have 80,000 families standing with you
to protect and advance homeschool freedoms in the United States
and foreign countries.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1106

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