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140 Cities Expected to See Religious Freedom Rallies Today


TRENT BEATTIE

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/23/2012

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ABSTRACT140 Cities Expected to See Religious Freedom Rallies Today | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  April 8, 2012   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Christmas Music Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News 140 Cities Expected to See Religious Freedom Rallies Today (11644) Thousands expected to gather in opposition to the HHS mandate on second anniversary of health-care reform act. Share by TRENT BEATTIE 03/23/2012 Comments (31) The Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is set to take place today at noon in 140 cities across the country. From Hawaii to Maine, citizens are preparing to let their voices be heard on the value of religious freedom. Meeting places include historic sites, congressional offices and federal buildings. The theme for the rally is “Stand Up for Religious Freedom — Stop the HHS Mandate!” The rallies, which are scheduled to take place on the second anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare), are being organized by the Pro-Life Action League and by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society in response to the recent Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring most employers’ health-insurance plans to provide co-pay-free sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs. The mandate is unacceptable to Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, who is spearheading the rallies. While he says there are numerous objections to the mandate, opposition to it can be broken down into two key points. The first, he says, is that “in principle, this mandate treats fertility, which can be seen as the very definition of health, as a disease. This is being talked about as ‘preventive care,’ as if motherhood, fatherhood and childhood are diseases to be avoided. This is extremely offensive.” The second point, which Scheidler sees as even more important, is the violation of religious freedom. “This mandate would force employers to pay for sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs, even in violation of their consciences. This is a direct attack on religious freedom itself, despite what many are being led to believe,” he said. “Some think that because a so-called ‘accommodation’ was offered, everything is fine,” Scheidler said. “The Church, not the insurance companies, would still be forced to pay for things which violate Church teachings. The only way around it would be if a Catholic hospital, for example, would only hire Catholic employees and serve Catholic patients. This is ridiculous — the corporal works of mercy are not meant for Catholics alone. The HHS ’accommodation’ is so narrow that Jesus and his apostles would not qualify for it.” He noted that even as Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented the accommodation Feb. 10, the administration was “submitting their original plan to be published in the Federal Register. They did not intend to give us any leeway.” Scheidler hopes to make this clear to those who had been unaware of it. “We really want this to be both a grassroots effort across the nation and also a unified effort with a very clear message. And that message is to stand up for religious freedom and stop Obama’s HHS mandate.” Among the groups supporting the effort are Concerned Women for America, the National Black Pro-Life Coalition and Students for Life of America. While many of the rally supporters are Catholic, Scheidler said this “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 attacked by the Obama administration.” Scheidler wants to see everyone who supports his efforts, whether Catholic or not, to come to their nearest location in support of the effort. “We’re really encouraging people to invite local religious leaders — not just Catholics, but Protestants, Jews and others — to participate as speakers at the rallies as well.” Twenty-two Catholic bishops are expected to take to the podium at rallies today, including Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Ala., and Bishop Salvatore Cordileone Oakland, Calif. Speakers at the Federal Plaza in Chicago will include Sheila Liaugminas of Relevant Radio and Chicago archdioce.......