On March 23, concerned citizens in over 50 cities — including Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco — will gather at federal buildings for a rally with the theme, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom — Stop the HHS Mandate!”
Thousands of Americans of all faiths are expected to participate in these rallies, organized by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and the Pro-Life Action League, to oppose the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that requires all employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans. Religious leaders and other public figures will speak out against the HHS Mandate.
The opponents of the mandate say HHS provided a “religious exemption” so narrow that it would exclude Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities, forcing these institutions to act in direct opposition to Catholic teaching through the health care plans they provide.
“With the HHS Mandate, the Obama administration has presumed upon itself the authority to decide what counts as a religious institution in this country,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. “This is an unprecedented attack on the free exercise of religious faith protected by the First Amendment.”
“The Obama mandate is a complete affront to religious liberty,” said Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. “Persons of faith or no faith at all should be alarmed at Obama riding rough-shod over the conscience of American citizens. We are calling on all people of good will to rise up and vigorously oppose this ruling.”
Scheidler and Miller have formed the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition, comprised of dozens of local and national pro-life and pro-family organizations, to fight the HHS Mandate through direct action.
Read the entire article. Kathryn Jean Lopez of NRO interviews Eric Scheidler, who is “a pro-life activist, with the Pro-Life Action League, who has helped organize a website coordinating Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies across the U.S. tomorrow.”
Truly grassroots, the rallies for religious freedom Friday are not a top-down kinda thing, but gatherings of concerned Americans on a weekday, organized to different degrees in different locations, at state capitols around the country, as well as outside the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.
Find a location near you at standupforreligiousfreedom.com. Scheidler points to where to be tomorrow at noon and beyond:
Lopez: Where will you be tomorrow at noon?
Scheidler: I’ll be in Chicago, since the Pro-Life Action League is based in Chicago.
I might have been tempted to come out to the D.C. or New York rally, but I really believe in grassroots activism. My mission is to put people to work in their own communities defending the sanctity of life and putting their religious convictions into action.
Activism isn’t just something that goes on in D.C. or other power centers. Pro-life activism, religious activism has to happen everywhere.
I want to exemplify that, so I’ll be in Chicago’s federal plaza tomorrow.
Lopez: What’s your goal for Friday’s rallies?
Scheidler: Our goal is to show that there is widespread, growing opposition to Obama’s HHS Mandate, that this isn’t just a fight between President Obama and the Catholic bishops.
All across the United States, people of all faiths — or no faith at all — are seeing the HHS Mandate for what it is: the single greatest attack on religious freedom since our nation’s founding.
Tomorrow, the push-back begins.
We’ll be resetting the terms of this controversy, getting past the nonsense about a “war on women” or a “war on contraception” and the whole Sandra Fluke distraction.
Our goal is to fire up a grassroots army of Americans committed to overturning the HHS Mandate, first by educating their friends, neighbors and coworkers about how our cherished freedoms are at stake, and then by working for the legislative and electoral changes necessary to restore religious liberty.
Much more information at standupforreligiousfreedom.com.