4/1/2010 - April 2010 SLI Newsletter
Dear Friends and Supporters,
This month’s Educational Update again calls attention to the gambling issue that has dominated the Alabama Legislature. We predicted last year that the legislative effort to legalize gambling would be more intense than it ever had been before. It has and this was due in principal part to the efforts of the Governor’s Task Force resulting in court rulings limiting the so called “electronic bingo.” We have been called on once again to review and advise on the planned substitute bill.
The Alabama Baptist Convention State Board of Missions began the week of March 27, 2010 by placing a gospel witness tract and an invitation to attend a special Easter service on the door of every home in Alabama. Whenever religious public speech is attempted, there is always the chance that it will be burdened or abridged by some uninformed government agent. As an example of this, the City of Pelham has an ordinance which absolutely prohibits the distribution of literature to homes in its city limits. A local church was told it would not be able to distribute the gospel tract and invitation. At the church’s request, we reviewed the plan and the ordinance. Clearly, it was unconstitutional and we advised the church to inform the city of this and request permission to distribute the religious literature. As it turns out, the city had already learned on an earlier occasion from a confrontation with the Jehovah’s Witnesses that its ordinance was unconstitutional, yet it attempted again to prohibit the Baptists from exercising their constitutional rights of religious freedom and free speech. The lesson from this story is to always question authority if it violates your religious liberty. SLI is here to assist you if that happens.
Another incident which calls our attention for need to be ever vigilant occurred in Brazil. While we do not do work in that country, we must always be aware of trends in other countries. Similar to what we have seen in Germany and other Western European countries, Brazil has made it unlawful to homeschool. Although homeschooled children in this case passed difficult government imposed tests, the parents were slapped with criminal fines for refusing to submit their children to the Brazilian public school system. The choice to homeschool one’s children in America is a constitutionally protected right. However, like Brazil, there remains the possibility of state interference with that right. Homeschoolers need to be aware of the slightest infringement on their rights.
Thank you for your continuing support of SLI. We have spent a great deal of time during this legislative session providing legal assistance. Please send us as generous a financial contribution as you are able. Please be in prayer for our continuing efforts, particularly on the gambling issue.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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