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Friends of Freedom


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Dear Friends of Freedom:

We are at the cusp on an historic struggle to control the U.S.

Supreme Court, and with it, the Court's direction on a broad array

of issues - including religious liberty.

Today Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement. She was

a friend to religious liberty, whose eloquent support for minority

faiths stood out during an era in which that protection was gravely

compromised by the Court.

The key event in this struggle occurred back in 1990 in the case of

Employment Division v. Smith. Justice Scalia, writing for the

Court's majority, issued a court opinion that seriously reduced the

First Amendment protections for believers. In response to the

majority opinion, Justice O'Connor wrote:

"In my view, today's holding… is incompatible with our Nation's

fundamental commitment to individual religious liberty... The Court

today interprets the [Free Exercise of Religion] Clause to permit

the government to prohibit, without justification, conduct mandated

by an individual's religious beliefs…"

Justice O'Connor's analysis in the case was, sadly, right on target.

Justice O'Connor was not only a champion of the right to practice

our faith, but her views on separation of church and state found a

moderate middle ground. She was careful to ensure religion was not

barred from the public square, but at the same time, she prudently

worked to ensure the state wasn't used to promote one religious view

over another.

Justice O'Connor's views on religious liberty questions will be

missed. The battle for her replacement has already begun. These are

serious times. Make no mistake about it, what happens at the Supreme

Court has a very real and very tangible impact on people across this

country – including you. It's time to sit up and take notice. It's

time to remember our civic leaders in our prayers. It's time to

become active. If you haven't already, I want to invite you to

become a member of the North American Religious Liberty Association

as we work diligently under God's grace to hold God's "banner of

truth and religious liberty high"! Join us at

www.religiousliberty.info

May God bless each one of you this Sabbath,

James Standish

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