Religious freedom rallies planned in over 120 locations



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ABSTRACTReligious freedom rallies planned in over 120 locations :: 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 Religious freedom rallies planned in over 120 locations By Benjamin Mann Eric Scheidler, Executive Director of the Pro-life Action League. Chicago, Ill., Mar 21, 2012 / 02:05 am ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- On March 23, more than 120 cities and towns across the U.S. will hear a demand to stop the Obama administration's contraception mandate and restore the freedom of religious institutions and believers. “The buzz is incredible,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, who is organizing the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom along with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. “I'm getting phone calls from people all over the country.” When CNA last spoke with Scheidler, on Feb. 29, protests were being planned in around 50 cities. Since then, the administration has refused to withdraw or change its contraception insurance mandate – and the scope of the national protest movement has more than doubled. “New cities and towns are still coming on to the rally every single day,” Scheidler said on March 20. “We went into the weekend with 110, we came out of the weekend with over 120.” “The number of blog posts, and stories, and chatter on Facebook is another sign,” he noted. Based on these indications in both new and traditional media, he expects “a huge turnout across the country,” possibly reaching into the tens-of-thousands. The March 23 protests, taking place at historic sites and government buildings, are scheduled for the Friday before the Church's Feast of the Annunciation. That date also happens to be the anniversary of Patrick Henry's 1775 “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech. Scheidler says the protests are part of a movement that will not stop until it secures the free exercise of faith. “At no point has the Obama administration ever taken seriously the conscience concerns, the moral objections, or the religious objections, of the American people to this mandate,” he observed. “Until they allow all employers to opt out of providing contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs – which are not 'preventive care' for anything, because pregnancy is not a disease – we will continue to fight this mandate.” The debate over the contraception rule has intensified in recent weeks, despite the White House's attempt to quell controversy in February by promising a set of accommodations that would involve different methods of payment and billing. These changes were rejected by the U.S. Catholic bishops and others, who called for an end to the rule requiring institutions to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs through their health plans. Health and Human Services' most recent announcement suggested some alternate payment plans that religious institutions' insurance providers might use to cover contraception without a co-pay. But the same announcement made clear that the mandate's narrow exemption clause would not be revised. Some supporters of the mandate have accused opponents of waging a “war on women.” President Obama has presented the argument as a debate over access to contraception, a charge Scheidler considers both a falsehood and a ruse. “It is insulting to the intelligence of women, and men, that they continue to use this outrageous rhetoric – and create these entirely fictional 'crises.'” “There's no contraception (access) 'crisis' in this country. And nobody – nobody! – is suggesting that contraceptives be banned.” Opponents of the mandate, he said, are only demanding the right to opt out either of paying for contraception and abortion-causing drugs, or maki.......