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HB445, Religious Release Programs, and LifeWise Academy

LOVEboldly's Stance: MIXED*

*LOVEboldly supports the idea, intent, and operation of well-run religious release programs. We are opposed to HB445 and the methods and teachings of LifeWise Academy.

Why should Christians care about Religious Release programs, LifeWise Academy, and HB445?

Summary - HB445

(This section refers only to HB445. Please refer to the graphics above for more on Religious Release and LifeWise Academy.)

HB445 would change only one word of Ohio law from "may" to "shall," but this change would require every public school district in Ohio to adopt a religious release policy. That change, though, would not necessarily or automatically introduce LifeWise Academy into every school district. 

Status of the Bill
(as of June 26, 2024)

HB445 was introduced on March 12, 2024. It was assigned to the House Primary and Secondary Committee on April 2, 2024. The bill recieved its first hearing (sponsor's hearing) on April 23, 2024, and its second hearing (proponent) on June 4, 2024. No additional hearings have been scheduled at this time.

Take Action

1. Write an op-ed or letter-to-the editor about HB445.

2. Urge your district leaders to reject LifeWise Academy whether it is operating already, has been proposed, or has yet to make inroads in your district.

3. Share this page with your family and friends.

Congregational Action*

1.There is no congregational action to take at this time.

Other Resources Regarding Ohio HB445

*Legal Stuff

We're not lawyers and nothing we say should be taken as legal advice. Please consult your congregational and denominational legal counsel for legal advice. That said, we know congregations sometimes wonder what they can and cannot do when it comes to advocacy.

 

Like LOVEboldly, most churches are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and as such are tax exempt. Donors to 501(c)(3) organizations can also, under some circumstances, deduct their donations from their taxes (another area where people should consult a professional which LOVEboldly is not).

 

DO - Churches and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits can engage in issue-based advocacy. This means we can publicly support or oppose policies, bills, regulations, and other governmental actions. In most cases our support or opposition is in the form of educating people and then arguing why people should support or oppose a particular issue. Everything on this page is an example of issue-based advocacy in opposition to HB8.

 

DON'T - Churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations cannot engage in partisan politics. We can neither endorse particular politicians nor can we lobby politicians or government officials. We can hold nonpartisan events such as a voter registration drive. We all have examples of churches behaving badly: pastors endorsing candidates from the pulpit, sermons demonizing other candidates, and many more. Don't model their behavior.

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