Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies draw tens of thousands nationwide against the HHS mandate
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, (LifeSiteNews.com) June 7, 2012, – The second wave of religious freedom rallies took place on Friday, filling courthouse squares, federal buildings, and university centers from New York to Los Angeles with the Founding Fathers’ views of liberty and conscience.
Tens of thousands participated in the more than 150 events organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Early media coverage showed hundreds of people attended each major rally, holding yellow balloons that say “Religious Liberty” and waving signs that read, “Stop the HHS Mandate.”
In the nation’s capital, Michele Bachmann and Lila Rose expounded upon the Constitutional liberties enshrined in the First Amendment.
Jill Stanek spoke in Chicago. The San Francisco rally was emceed by Dana Cody of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. In Montana, a crowd gathered outside the officers of U.S. Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat who supports the mandate.
Attendees in Miami heard Archbishop Thomas Wenski say the HHS accommodation is no compromise, because “compromises are not usually arrived at unilaterally.” He said a fundamental principle of health care is that it “shouldn’t kill anybody.”
LifeSiteNews.com U.S. Bureau Chief Ben Johnson told a crowd of hundreds he was “astounded” as a journalist when he saw that “the best and brightest minds of Washington” decided “the most important aspect of the health care bill…was that every American, including post-menopausal women and gay men, needed access to birth control.”
Citing the history of Eastern Europe he said “light and transient offenses against our religious liberty never remain light and transient offenses,” but are usually the opening salvos of a greater war “to deny all our religious liberties. “It’s a test of our strength and our resolve, an attempt to set a binding precedent, and it’s an attempt to weaken our resources against the more serious assaults that are to come,” he said.
“We know that nature abhors a vacuum and that every inch that is yielded by the Church will be filled by a rushing, virulent secularism.” Quoting Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, he said, “We must fight, I repeat it sir, we must fight!”
Nick Thomm, the proprietor of StopHHS.com and an organizer of the local rally in Ann Arbor, noted the media blackout. “We cannot rely on the secular media to keep this issue alive before the American people in a way we would recognize as fair and accurate,” he said.
Johnson assured that LifeSiteNews.com will continue to provide accurate coverage.
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Scores of rallies across the nation occurred on this date, because it marked the 223rd anniversary of James Madison’s introduction of the Bill of Rights. Constitutional limits on government power figured heavily in the observance.
Rev. Sammie Maletta, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church asked the crowd in northwest Indiana, “If this government can wipe out 200 years of constitutional practice by this illegal mandate, how safe will you be from this government’s abuse when their extreme agenda tells you how to live?”
“There is a reason that tyrants (and) dictators…always go after religious freedom first. They know that faith in God sets men free,” said Jerry Cox, the president of the Family Council at a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Elder Levon Yuille of Ypsilanti Bible Church in Michigan and director of the National Pro-Life Congress told LifeSiteNews.com he got involved, because “the HHS mandate and the hate crimes speech” represent “a direct attack on the religious faith of America.”
He said the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally was “one of the best grassroots gatherings I’ve seen in 30 years in… the pro-life field.”
Stand Up Rally national co-director Monica Miller said, “If ObamaCare is not struck down, we’ll be sending the federal authorities a clear message that the faith based institutions and private businesses affected by the HHS Mandate simply will not comply with it.
Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock made perhaps the most pithy explanation of today’s protests. “Civil law must never require what conscience forbids, nor forbid what conscience requires,” he said.