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National rallies seek religious freedom


BENJAMIN MANN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/1/2012

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ABSTRACTNational rallies seek religious freedom restoration on March 23 :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Sacred Arts Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US National rallies seek religious freedom restoration on March 23 By Benjamin Mann Chicago, Ill., Mar 1, 2012 / 12:01 am ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- On March 23, Catholics and other supporters of religious liberty will demonstrate outside federal buildings nationwide, demanding the withdrawal of the Obama administration's contraception mandate. “We're going to have thousands of people across the country. It may even reach the tens-of-thousands,” said Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler, whose group is joining with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to organize the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom. “We really want this to be both a grassroots effort across the nation, and also really a unified effort with a very clear message. And that message is, to stand up for religious freedom and stop Obama's HHS mandate.” Supporters will spread the message in peaceful protests outside government buildings “from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, and everywhere in between,” Scheidler told CNA on Feb. 27. “We're really encouraging people to invite local religious leaders: not just Catholics, but Protestants, Jews, even Muslims, to participate as special speakers at the rallies as well.” Scheidler stressed that opposition to the federal contraception mandate “really isn't just a Catholic issue. This is a direct attack on the constitutionally-protected right of religious organizations to define their own mission and purpose, which has been abrogated by the Obama administration.” Organizers chose the March 23 date in order to hold the rally on the Friday closest to the Roman Catholic Church's celebration of the Annunciation. In a coincidence Scheidler said was both unintended and providential, March 23 is also the date on which, in 1775, the American revolutionary Patrick Henry declared: “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Organizers of the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom released a Feb. 27 declaration outlining their criticisms of the Health and Human Services mandate. The rule compels many religious groups to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs through their health care plans. Scheidler and Monica Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, explained that they were standing against “the federal government's definition of what constitutes a religious institution,” through the “narrowly constructed 'exemption' to the HHS mandate” for certain groups. They also oppose the mandate “forcing all businesses – not just religious institutions – to provide coverage of contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, if even doing so violates their own moral convictions on these matters.” Finally, they noted that the rule goes wrong by defining contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as “preventative care” – a classification that “treats pregnancy and childbirth as a disease.” In his work for the Pro-Life Action League, Eric Scheidler has taken an exceptionally strong stance against contraception, and the “contraceptive mindset,” as the root cause of many abortions. He believes the contraception mandate may be a learning opportunity for non-Catholics in the pro-life movement. “A 2,000-year old institution, that is still here today, has this teaching – that it has always had,” Scheidler noted, reflecting on the Church's counter-cultural witness against contraception. “I hope this will be a teaching moment.” “We're not the Amish, who have some kind of problem with the modern world,” he pointed out. “Catholics are fully participating in all aspects .......