Saturday, November 25, 2006

ACTION ALERT: Contact Your Senator to Reject S 3696, The "Public Expression of Religion Act"

Please write or contact your Senators and urge them to reject this disguised attack on our religious freedom. Go ahead and read my letter below for ideas, or follow this link for more info on this issue:

In September, the House passed HR 2679, the "Public Expression of Religion Act". Apparently now, this bill is S 3696, and will be coming up for a vote in the Senate soon. Senator -----, I'm writing this to you, urging you to reject this terrible piece of legislation that chips away at our First Amendment rights. This is a disgusting piece of legislation that threatens to undo our Bill of Rights, which is why I am asking you not to allow this bill to pass during this "Lame Duck" session.

If the "Public Expression of Religion Act" becomes law, then everyone who has the courage to challenge violations of the Establishment Clause must pay for their court costs out of pocket. Even if they win, they would not be entitled to having their attorney's fees paid for by the person who had violated the Establishment Clause in the first place! For one, this is simply unfair... And, of course, this is specifically designed to scare away the trial lawyers who would otherwise provide their services to the plaintiff pro bono.

What the supporters of PERA want us to forget is that the ability to recover attorneys’ fees in these types of Establishment Clause cases is necessary to protect the religious freedom of all Americans and to ensure that government does not become entagled in religious affairs, and vice versa. How many American citizens would be able to afford the tens of thousands of dollars to take a case to court? How many attorneys are able to handle the burden of not being compensated for all the time and effort they spend on such cases? The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment protects the religious liberty of all Americans, however the supporters of PERA want to only limit the First Amendment to those who can afford to pay their own way to court.

And besides, citizens should not be required to do pay for these cases where the court finds that the government has violated their rights and the Constitution. This is nothing more than an attempt by the radical right to silence the voices of those who challenge their attempts to destroy our freedom of religion. Please, Senator --, reject this bill. Please help ensure that the Constitutional principle of religious freedom will remain strong for generations to come.

No comments: