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At Scores of Rallies, Thousands Hear Calls to Restore Constitutional Right to Religious Liberty


NC REGISTER

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

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ABSTRACTAt Scores of Rallies, Thousands Hear Calls to Restore Constitutional Right to Religious Liberty | 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 At Scores of Rallies, Thousands Hear Calls to Restore Constitutional Right to Religious Liberty (6152) Stand Up for Religious Freedom marks second anniversary of Obamacare with peaceful, impassioned demonstrations against HHS contraceptive mandate. Share by REGISTER STAFF AND CORRESPONDENTS 03/23/2012 Comments (20) Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., told protesters in Chicago, “If you’re not prepared to go to jail and stand up for your freedom, you don’t know what’s at stake in this election.” – Matthew A. Rarey From the halls of government in the nation’s capital to the hills of San Francisco, thousands of Americans turned out today across the country to voice their opposition to what they perceive as serious encroachments on religious liberty. Sponsored by an organization called Stand Up for Religious Freedom , the rallies were held in 140 locations, including the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington . That is the office that issued a regulation earlier this year requiring most private employers to provide co-pay-free contraceptive and sterilization coverage in health-care plans. The mandate provides only a narrow religious exemption, leading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations to protest it as an infringement on religious liberty. More than a score of Catholic bishops spoke at rallies, and others issued statements to be read at the gatherings. But the nationwide event attracted people of all faiths. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a letter, commended participants for “standing up for the fundamental rights of all people of faith.” “Since Jan. 20, when the final HHS mandate was announced, two things have been abundantly clear: Religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Of course, this is not a ‘Catholic issue’ alone. It is wonderful to see so many of our fellow Americans of all faiths stand together in this important moment. Nor is this about what our opponents are marketing as ‘women’s health.’ It’s about the sacred right of any faith community to define its own teaching and ministry and the right of every person of faith to be free from being forced to do something that violates their conscience.” New York City’s rally drew as many as 1,000 to Federal Hall on Wall Street. Cardinal Dolan’s letter to attendees noted the symbolism of the site. George Washington, described by the cardinal as one of the great defenders of religious liberty and whose statue dominates the steps, was inaugurated at Federal Hall in 1789. New York was the nation’s first capital. Speakers included Alveda King, the late Martin Luther King’s niece, civil-rights activist and self-described “pro-life warrior”; Rabbi Yehudah Levin of the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Christopher Bell, head of Good Counsel, which provides homes for homeless, pregnant women; and Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More campaign for women. The Rev. Bill Devlin, pastor of Manhattan Bible Church, had just concluded a 42-day fast, which he ended after a favorable ruling allowing New York City schools to continue renting weekend space to churches was announced. To win this new fight for religious liberty, Devlin drew on his experience and urged everyone to pray, fast and work. It is inevitable that a rally in New York City will draw detractors. A small group from the nearby Occupy Wall Street contingent shouted slogans for about three to four minutes. Two pro-choice women carried signs and engaged in interviews with New York 1 24-hour cable television channel. Philadelphia and Boston In cities closely related to the fight for independence in 1776, protesters like Philadelphia Catholic radio talk-show host Dom Giordano recalled that the rallies were taking place on the anniversary of Patrick Henry stating, “Give me liberty or give me death.” About 2,000 people gathered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, waving American flags a.......