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3/19/2013 4:51:32 PM
Scott Woodruff--HSLDA
Kansas--Vote Coming Soon on Religious Freedom!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Kansas--Vote Coming Soon on Religious Freedom!

Dear HSLDA Kansas Members and Friends,

Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill
that will protect religious freedom in Kansas, HB 2203, but the
committee has not voted yet, so there is still time for your calls!

A U.S. Supreme Court decision several years ago downgraded the amount
of protection the federal government can give to faith-based actions.
But the court left the door open for individual states to bring back
the high level of protection that faith-in-action previously enjoyed.

Since that time more than a dozen states have enacted laws protecting
religious freedom at the level it enjoyed before. It's time for Kansas
to go on record and protect religious expression!

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call your Kansas state senator right away if he or she is
listed below. Your message can be as simple as, "Please vote YES on
HB 2203. Please protect religious freedom from being downgraded."

If your own senator is not listed below as a committee member, please
call the committee chairman with the same message.

Use our Legislative Toolbox or another source to find the name of your
senator. (Be sure to type in your ZIP code:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17381 )

CONTACT INFORMATION--Senate Judiciary Committee members

Sen. Jeff King, Chair (785) 296-7361

Sen. Greg Smith, Vice Chair (785) 296-7367

Sen. David Haley, Ranking Minority Member (785) 296-7376

Sen. Terry Bruce (785) 296-2497

Sen. Forrest Knox (785) 296-7678

Sen. Garrett Love (785) 296-7359

Sen. Julia Lynn (785) 296-7382

Sen. Carolyn McGinn (785) 296-7377

Sen. Mike Petersen (785) 296-7355

Sen. Pat Pettey (785) 296-7375

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (785) 296-7362

BACKGROUND

Historically, government agencies could push aside someone's right to
exercise his religion only if the government had a super good reason
(a "compelling" reason), and used the least restrictive method
possible. But freedom lurched backward in 1990 when a U.S. Supreme
Court case (Employment Division vs. Smith) treated this foundational
right as if it were only ordinary. This empowered government to trump
your religious freedom for any just barely "rational" reason.

And government encroachment almost always triumphs over the freedom of
a citizen under that standard because it is ridiculously easy to show
that a government restriction is just rational.

The public demanded change. HSLDA was in the forefront of the battle,
and a federal law was passed and signed by President Clinton in 1993
to restore the historic level of protection. We thought the freedom to
live out one's faith was safe.

But in 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked us again. In the City of
Boerne case, it said the new federal law could not be used to stop
individual states from violating the rights of citizens. This gave
states the green light to downgrade your religious freedom to the
lowest possible level (i.e., treat it like an "ordinary" right).

In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed a law giving prisoners the highest
level of protection in their religious expression. But this did not
help law-abiding Kansas residents.

The long-standing practice of pastor-laity confidentiality was
repeatedly violated. A Catholic hospital was denied accreditation for
refusing to teach abortion techniques. A church ministry to the
homeless was forced to shut down because it was located on the second
floor of a building with no elevator. A church was prohibited from
feeding more than 50 people per day.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court's City of Boerne decision left the door
open for states individually to pass laws giving more protection. So
now it's up to states to stand up and be counted!

That is what HB 2203 does. It puts Kansas on record as saying the
freedom to practice one's religion must be protected just as it was
before 1990. It "levels the playing field" in conflicts between
enormous government power and the freedom of the individual citizen.
It gives you the same protection that prisoners in Kansas have enjoyed
for 13 years.

Some might argue that we should just let "common law" keep on
developing as it has. But this 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 Kansas or U.S Constitution already protects
religious expression. Unfortunately, neither one 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. HB 2203 fills that gap for Kansas residents.

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

HSLDA and the Christian Home Educators Confederation of Kansas are
united in supporting this bill.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel,
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
for our work enables us to defend individual families and protect
homeschooling freedom for all. Join now:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=17675

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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1107

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