Tens of thousands of people are estimated to gather Friday in 131 cities across the nation to rally around the mantra of religious liberty brought on by President Obama’s mandate on birth control.
“We are honored to be hosting a ‘Stand Up for Religious Freedom’ rally here in Washington, D.C. at the HHS building,” the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Fund, told The Christian Post. “When the president issued the HHS mandate, what he failed to understand is this is not an issue about health care – it is one of religious freedom.”
The rallies will take place at noon on Friday and will feature prominent religious leaders and elected officials at each location. What began as an effort to plan rallies in 40 to 50 cities has now grown to over 130.
More than any other policy issue that has come before the American public, President Obama’s directive to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that religious institutions must cover contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their employees’ health insurance even if it violates their conscience has brought the debate to the point of personal attacks from both sides.
Even before the mandate was issued by President Obama in late January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led now by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, encouraged the White House not to overreach and put religious institutions in the position of having to publicly oppose the White House.
However, the mandate extended far beyond the Catholic community, touching other Christian groups and denominations who felt the government had over-stepped its boundaries by forcing Christians to compromise on their beliefs.