Tens of thousands rally for religious freedom in 143 US cities
Chicago, Ill., Mar 27, 2012 / 08:18 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After drawing 54,000 people to 143 nationwide protests, leaders of the Stand Up For Religious Freedom campaign are more determined than ever to end the federal contraception mandate.
“From coast to coast, the response of the crowds at these rallies was a tremendous optimism that we can change the HHS mandate,” said Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler, who planned the March 23 “Rally for Religious Freedom” with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
“People came out for the very first time in their lives, to any sort of grassroots protest activity,” Scheidler said of Stand Up For Religious Freedom’s first effort.
“That happened in Chicago. It happened in San Francisco, in Washington, D.C., in New York, Philadelphia, and other large cities.”
Each of those cities drew between 900 and 2,500 people, united in their desire to restore religious freedom by ending the president’s contraception coverage rule.
“Before the rally, there was a real sense almost of despair – and certainly discouragement – that the federal government would be trying to strong-arm the religious institutions of this country,” Scheidler said, describing the mood he observed after the controversial rule was confirmed earlier this year.
Health and Human Services’ rule, requiring many religious institutions to offer contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs through their health plans, is being challenged in court by eight states. Scheidler said the rallies allowed individuals and communities to take a stand as well…