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9/1/2010 - September 2010 SLI Newsletter

September 2010

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Religious freedom is one of SLI’s primary objectives.  Essentially, it is the basis for all we do.  Our values are the foundation for our efforts.

There is a lot of discussion in the media right now about religious freedom.  It concerns the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero in Manhattan.  We have always supported religious freedom.  One of our proudest achievements was drafting, supporting and helping in the passage of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment.  This amendment can be used for, among other things, the location and zoning of religious places of worship.  We have represented many churches on this issue. 

However, the mosque issue is a little bit different.  While it is essentially a religious freedom issue, it is also an issue of propriety, diplomacy, and just plain good manners.  While the mosque may have a right under the First Amendment to locate at Ground Zero, it does not appear that it would be in the best interests of the inter-religious relations of the nation.  Some wonder if there is not a more insidious motive for having the mosque at Ground Zero.

Last month, we encountered a closer to home religious freedom issue.  Home schooling is an important right in Alabama for which we have been protective.  Home schooling is usually based on a religious choice by the parents and operates through church ministries.

However, when a conservative Jewish family recently wanted to home school, they encountered official opposition.  In dealing with the problem, they created the Beth Shalom Academy.  This offers conservative Jews an entity through which they can home educate.  A county board of education had denied their status, but upon our intervention, we found the school board to be very understanding and cooperative.  If you know of anyone who would be interested in the program, more information can be found at www.bethshalomacademy.wordpress.com.

Another values issue is the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.  Inherent to this are parental/child rights.  Our Update this month reports on a very important case in which we are involved.

Finally, this is the end of summer.  As always, our contributions drop off significantly during summer.  Please provide a generous contribution to us.  Please let us know the names of others whom we may add to our mailing list.  We always appreciate your support. 

                                                                                     Yours very truly,

                                                                                     A. Eric Johnston

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