Northwest Religious Liberty Association
Press Release – July 21, 2009
The Stage Was Set
On a sweltering Friday summer evening, and just two minutes prior to going on stage before approximately 2,000 Seventh-day Adventist Christians at the Gladstone, Oregon Campmeeting, the Honorable Representative Dave Hunt (D), Speaker of the House of Representatives for the Oregon Legislature, informed the president and staff of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association that Governor Ted Kulongoski had quietly signed Senate Bill 786, the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act, the day before, on Thursday, July 16, 2009.This was like music to our ears, as naysayers who did not fully understand the nature of the bill had been publicly urging the governor to veto it.
Greg Hamilton thanked the Speaker for his faithful diligence in championing religious freedom for all people of faith in Oregon, including Seventh-day Adventist Christians, by giving him a plaque with the symbol of the torch of religious freedom. He also praised Representative Hunt “for championing such a noble cause in the State of Oregon” and for “your foresight and leadership in making the Oregon bill the potential model for both state and federal Workplace Religious Freedom Acts.”
The Northwest Religious Liberty Association has had a close working relationship with Representative Hunt since the 2003 legislative session when they worked together on the Oregon Religious Freedom Act, which focused on restoring the “compelling state interest” and “least restrictive means” constitutional tests for the free exercise of religion in Oregon.
Understanding the Specifics
What this Act does is clarify the responsibility of employers to accommodate the scheduling of leave time for the observation of religious holy days, or for the wearing of religious apparel in the workplace unless it poses a “significant difficulty or expense” to their business(es).
It also defines “undue hardship” more coherently.
Senate Bill 786 passed the Oregon Senate by a 63% percent vote on May 5 and by a 66% percent vote in the Oregon House of Representatives on May 29. Despite some controversy surrounding the bill in the last several days, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed the bill July 16, 2009.
The most appropriate summary is that God is gracious, God is good.
Visit the Northwest Religious Liberty Association online at http://www.nrla.com