“Give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of . . . the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.”
— U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “Fortnight for Freedom” Vigil
President Barack Obama is antagonizing a historic part of the Democratic base — the Catholic vote — which makes up approximately 24 percent of the voting public. A national crisis is brewing, because deep in the fine print of the Affordable Care Law, better known as Obamacare, is a government attack on religious freedom.
The Supreme Court’s recent decision that the “individual mandate” in Obamacare, now said to come under the constitutional federal taxing authority, will not affect pending legal challenges to other parts of the law.
For instance, the Supreme Court has yet to take under consideration legal challenges to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “mandate” in Obamacare that requires religious institutions to offer their employees health insurance covering contraception and sterilization, which are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Obama has the support of Catholic secularists, such as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The president may find that these “smorgasbord” Catholics fail to deliver the Catholic vote in 2012, as they did in 2008.
According to news reports, it was Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett (the first family's closest adviser), and HHS Secretary Sebelius, who insisted that the president approve the “HHS mandate.” Vice President Joe Biden and former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, both Catholics, warned the president that picking a fight with the Catholic Church would be costly.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States called for rallies on June 8, 2012, in support of religious freedom, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution and as defended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his “Four Freedoms” speech featuring “Freedom of Worship.”
Among the 160 Defend Religious Freedom interfaith rallies held nationwide, one took place at a major intersection in Sarasota, Fla. Under a hot Florida sun, some 900 people of many faiths gathered to hear speeches, sing patriotic and religious songs, and waive signs protesting President Obama’s “HHS mandate”.
Some rally participants lined a busy intersection bordering the Bayfront Park where the rally took place. They waved printed and hand-lettered signs reading “Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate,” “Defend Religious Freedom,” and Hispanic demonstrators waved hand-painted signs that read, “Viva Cristo Rey.”
The protesters were treated to horn blowing and waving by motorists expressing their support. The most memorable horn-blowing came in several blasts from the air-horn of a Coca Cola truck. The entire rally took time to clap and wave to the driver. Passengers in cars passing by gave the “V” for Victory sign.
Rally speakers included a Baptist pastor, a women’s rights representative, a woman constitutional historian, a woman Jewish religious leader, and priests from local churches. Their message was religious freedom for all faiths. The protest, they said, was not about contraception, which is widely available and inexpensive, but for freedom to practice one’s religion without government intrusion.
One attendee recalled that President Obama, in speaking at a White House dinner for Muslims on Aug. 13, 2010, said, “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable . . .” Another attendee asked, “Was the president speaking of religious freedom just for Muslims?”
Two women walked by and stopped to glare at the rally; one opined in response to a woman speaker, “Go ahead, ratchet it up a notch. It won’t do you any good.” The local press was in the crowd taking photographs, but not a word on the rally appeared in the local papers.
A 20-something young man on a racing bike stopped to see what the speeches and music were all about. He asked what was happening, and an old soldier wearing his military cap answered, “Religious freedom! We’re not going to be like the Jews in the 1930s in Nazi Germany. We’re fighting back!” The young man responded, “Good for you,” saluted, and rode off.
The “HHS mandate” protests continue. On June 15, 2012, The Associated Press reported that the Catholic Health Association, once a supporter of Obamacare, now rejects the president’s “compromise” on the “HHS mandate.” This re-enforces the lawsuits filed by universities and other affected parties suing HHS to void the “HHS mandate.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a prayerful “Fortnight for Freedom,” June 21 to July 4, 2012, to continue the protest.
Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” The real facts about Obamacare are being revealed, and the people are praying.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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