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Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty

March 21, 2005





S-677 and HR 1445 represent historic bill numbers. This is

the first time that the Workplace Religious Freedom Act

[WRFA] has been introduced in both the House and Senate,

and with bi-partisan sponsorship! Late last week,

Republican Senator Rick Santorum and Democrat Senator John

Kerry held a joint press conference announcing the

introduction of this vitally important legislation to

protect people of faith from losing their jobs. Below is a

copy of Senator Santorum’s press release.

Good news, bad news! The good news is that with such strong

bi-partisan sponsorship in both houses of Congress, and

support from more than 40 religious groups, the bill is

gathering considerable steam. The bad news is that when a

bill gathers steam, bill opponents like the ACLU have

become more determined to stop it. Last year, we generated

nearly 27,000 e.mails in support! This year, our goal is

100,000 letters, whether by e.mail, fax or regular mail.

What to do now! It is time for all who care about

religious freedom to make a major effort to pass this bill.

There are different methods of influencing Congress to

support a bill. We are suggesting that you utilize all of

them, e.mails, petitions, faxes and phone calls. Here is

what we all need to do:

· Send an e.mail to our Senators and Representative at


· Print this e.lert and distribute it widely, at church, to

family and friends, and at work;

· Forward this e.lert as widely as possible, and add your

own encouragement to people to care enough to send their

own e.mails.

· Print the petition form included in this e.mail, copy and

distribute it widely, collect signatures yourself, and urge

others to circulate the petition.

· To phone, fax and mail, the blue government pages of your

phone book has this info for your members of Congress. This

info is also on the NARLA site, www.religiousliberty.info,

by entering your zip code. There is still nothing better

than a personal letter.

Added incentive! It should be enough to know that you are

helping to prevent religious discrimination, and toughening

laws requiring religious accommodation. Last year, we

offered an award to the person who obtained the most

support for the bill, paying for his family to attend our

annual retreat. This year’s weekend program will be at

Leoni Meadows, and we will repeat the offer. Last year,

Julio Gomez obtained more than 400 e.mails in support of

the bill. You can do likewise. We need 100 people with the

energy and dedication of Julio Gomez, maybe even 1,000!

Adventists have more workplace problems than others. We

need to work especially hard to pass this bill.

Special note to pastors and religious liberty leaders:

Passage of this bill will directly impact the life of your

congregation. Some people in your churches are working on

Sabbath, although they don’t want to. If WRFA is passed,

many of these members will be able to avoid Sabbath work.

Please make a commitment to see that every member of your

church supports passage of this bill. Thank you in advance!


These religious liberty newsflashes and legislative e.lerts

are published by the Pacific Union Conference of

Seventh-day Adventists, Department of Public Affairs &

Religious Liberty.

For assistance with a religious liberty problem:

Alan J. Reinach, Esq., []ajreinach@verizon.net;[/] 805-413-7396

Michael Peabody, Esq. []mpeabody@puconline.org;[/] 916-446-2552

More information about religious liberty issues can be

found at www.churchstate.org.

Join the North American Religious Liberty Association at


Contributions to support the work of NARLA can also be made

at www.religiousliberty.info.

Subscribe to Liberty: a Magazine of Religious Liberty, at


The petition below will fit on one page if you set your

margins narrowly.

Petition in Support of The Workplace Religious Freedom Act

of 2005

We, the undersigned, do petition our representatives in the

United States Congress to enact The Workplace Religious

Freedom Act of 2005 (WRFA), S-677 and HR 1445. This Act is

required to insure Americans are not forced to choose

between the free exercise of their religion and keeping a

job. WRFA will restore vital civil rights protection for

people of faith, to combat an epidemic of religious

discrimination in the workplace.* It strikes a balance by

requiring that employers provide reasonable accommodation

for workers’ religious beliefs, but only if it does not

cause significant difficulty or expense. In a nation where

freedom of conscience is fundamental, employees should be

free to follow their conscience and exercise their

religious beliefs without fear of being fired.

*Religious discrimination charges filed with the EEOC are

up 82% in the past decade.


Print Name Sign Name


Address, City, State and Zip [so legislator knows you are a

constituent—very important!]


e.mail [so we can follow up with you on important issues]


Print Name Sign Name


Address, City, State and Zip [so legislator knows you are a

constituent—very important!]


e.mail [so we can follow up with you on important issues]


Print Name Sign Name


Address, City, State and Zip [so legislator knows you are a

constituent—very important!]


e.mail [so we can follow up with you on important issues]


Print Name Sign Name


Address, City, State and Zip [so legislator knows you are a

constituent—very important!]


e.mail [so we can follow up with you on important issues]


Print Name Sign Name


Address, City, State and Zip [so legislator knows you are a

constituent—very important!]


e.mail [so we can follow up with you on important issues]

Return Petition to: North American Religious Liberty

Association – West

Fax: 805-497-7099; 805-497-9457; e.mail:


Below is the press release from Senator Rick Santorum:

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2005

Contact: Christine Shott (202) 224-0610

Santorum, Kerry Introduce Legislation to Protect Religious

Freedom in the Workplace

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA),

Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Senator

John Kerry (D-MA), today introduced the Workplace Religious

Freedom Act (WRFA) of 2005. If passed, this legislation

will require employers to make reasonable accommodations

for an employee's religious practice or observance, such as

time off and attire; similar legislation will be introduced

in the House of Representatives by Representatives Mark

Souder (R-IN), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Bobby Jindal

(R-LA), and Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

"Throughout the ten years that I have been in the Senate, I

have worked to raise the profile and importance of

religious freedom, both domestic and international,

including currently leading a working group to discuss

these issues," said Senator Santorum.

"While most employers recognize the value of respecting

religion in the workplace, sometimes employees are forced

to choose between dedication to the principles of their

faith and losing their job because their employers refuse

to reasonably accommodate certain needs. We need to be

respectful of people's expression of faith in the workplace

and in the public square. Senator Kerry and I hope that

through this legislation we can find a balance for people

who want to have their religious convictions respected at

work and an employer who is trying to run a business."

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was meant to

address conflicts between religion and work. It requires

employers to reasonably accommodate the religious needs of

their employees so long as it does not impose an undue

hardship on the employer.

"I've had to accommodate people of faith as a former

employee and manager in the retail business. Too often,

the present situation discriminates against those who wish,

for example, to keep the Sabbath holy. Whenever a

reasonable accommodation can be made, no one should be

forced to choose between his faith and his job. I'm

hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will help remedy

this problem," commented Congressman Mark Souder.

"The problem we face now is that our federal courts have

read these lines out of the law by ruling that any hardship

is an undue hardship and have left religiously observant

workers with little or no legal protection," said Senator


This legislation has garnered the diverse support of

various religious groups including, the Union of Orthodox

Jewish Congregations, the Southern Baptist Convention, the

National Council of Churches, the North American Council

for Muslim Women, the Sikh Resource Taskforce, the Seventh

Day Adventist Church, the American Jewish Committee,

Agudath Israel of America, the U.S. Conference of Catholic

Bishops and many others.


<<3.17 Workplace Religious Freedom Act.doc>>

Maureen E. Ryan

Press Assistant

United States Senator Rick Santorum

511 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Press Office: 202-224-0610

Press Fax: 202-228-4991


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Thank you for this update, Stan!

Though we did encourage everyone last year to write letters and emails, it's now back to square one...

Let's get to work!

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