The Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights is supposed to keep our government from interfering with religion, guard against the states' use of religion for political purposes, and ensure that the government does not act in a way
that prefers one religion over another, so that we may all worship freely.
But while the Establishment Clause protects our basic freedoms, it is not self-enforcing. If someone is forced to sue the government to protect their constitutional rights, justice and fairness dictate they be able to recover their
legal fees expended to do so.
The Public Expression of Religion Act would prevent citizens from recovering their litigation costs if they sue to stop state-sponsored religion. This law is brazenly designed to make it next to impossible for private citizens to sue
to protect their First Amendment rights because lawsuits are prohibitively expensive.
In other words, Congress and the Religious Right want to cement the establishment of their own religion as dominant via the force of the government, and the force of law.
Tell your Senators that religious freedom is more important than the agenda of the religious right!
I am writing to express my deep concern over the Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA) and to urge you to vote against this proposal should it come up for a vote.
Under the guise of "religious freedom," PERA seeks to undermine the Establishment Clause, weakening our nation's commitment to the separation of church and state and actually threatening the religious freedom of millions of Americans.
Currently, citizens who win lawsuits challenging infringements of the Establishment Clause - such as Ten Commandment displays on government property and prayer in public schools - are able to receive reimbursement for the legal fees they collect in the process. This ensures that all Americans are free to challenge legitimate threats to the freedoms promised in the Constitution - and that this fundamental right will be extended to all Americans, not just those with the financial means to fund a legal challenge.
By ending this reimbursement, PERA would deal a massive blow to our nation's enlightened commitment to the separation of church and state.
Please put the religious freedom of all Americans above the interests of the religious right, and vote NO on this proposal.