New Haven Stand-Up Rally Brings Over 500 Protesters!
Posted by Norma Contois (June 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm)
Note: This entry, posted by Rally Captain Norma Contois, was written by activist David Dowd.
The New Haven Rally for Religious Freedom took place on New Haven Green at noon on June 8th as Rallies were taking place at 160 sites across the country. June 8 is the 223rd anniversary of the day our Founding Father James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, Some 500 + folks gathered on the Green on a sunsplashed day. The speaker’s platform was surrounded by trees as the large crowd formed a semi circle around the speakers.
Speaking from the platform, Peter Wolfgang, Executive Director of the Family Institue of Connecticut exuded great energy in introducing the speakers. Described by one woman in attendance as a very outgoing and pumped up speaker, Mr. Wolfgang’s manner won the approval of the audience time and time again as he introduced each speaker and placed the speaker’s points in reference to the theme of Religious Freedom.
Father Joe Looney, pastor of Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and one of the spiritual leaders in the pro life movement in Connecticut, gave the Benediction to open the Rally. Father Joe had led a group of people in the Sorrowful Mysteries just before he gave the Benediction.
Mr. Wolfgang then introduced Bishop Peter Rosazza from the Archdiocese of Hartford. Bishop Rosazza, speaking on behalf of Archbishop Mansell provided an insightful review of the danger posed by the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate. He alerted the gathering our right to religious freedom was being downsized to a “right to worship.” Bishop Rosazza invoked St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and called upon the spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting.
Sr. Counsel Vince McCarthy for the ACLJ, where he specializes in constitutional law, was warmly introduced by Mr. Wolfgang. Attorney McCarthy observed the Obama administration has declared war on religious freedom. He emphasized we have the right to chose our religious expression in this country.
Bishop Terry Wiles of the Crossroads Community Church in East Hartford picked up on Attorney McCarthy’s theme. He said (the HHS Mandate) is an attack on our religious liberty. He said, “Ordained religious leaders have a say in how we live our faith, the government does not.” Referring to the HHS Mandate, he said, “It defiles our right to practice our religion.” He reminded us, “We have a constitutional right not to obey.” He said, “We cannot be silent about it.” And he concluded by reminding us, “We answer to a higher authority then the government.
State Senator Michael McLachlan called attention to the historic setting of the New Haven Green as the site for the Rally for Religious Freedom. He also asked support for the Connecticut Capital Prayer Network for elected officials serving in the state government. He specifically asked for prayers for faith and the wisdom to do what’s right. He said the Government should stay out of the Church’s business. And, he recognized the Knights of Columbus for their firm reliance on faith in their opposition to what is going on in the government’s actions against religion.
State Representative T. R. Rowe followed Senator McLachlan. Representative Rowe observed Religious Liberty is the real origin of our Country. This attack by the government against religious liberty affects us all. When Rep Rowe was trying to make a point that the threat posed by the government is larger then the attack against life in the womb, a gust of wind blew against the Stand up for Religious Freedom Banner and knocked down half the banner. Rep Rowe quipped, “Must have been the Holy Spirit.”
He quoted a poem from Pastor Niemoller to bring the seriousness of the threat of the HHS Mandate to the attention of the gathered:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
His presentation can be viewed on this You-Tube.
Reverend Robert Rosseau, Director of Pro Life Activities for the Archdiocese of Hartford and pastor of St. Augustine Church in North Branford has spoken out against the HHS Mandate in local paper.
Fr. Rousseau was most pointed in his remarks. He noted the attack against religious freedom is not likely to stop. He urged the gathered, “To learn to dance in the rain.” He asked, “Are we are going to take our freedom from the Government or from God?” Fr. implored the people gathered, “Opt for Religious Freedom! Learn to dance in the rain.”
Following Fr. Rousseau, from Silent No More was Nicole Taylor Peck. In a presentation which brought tears to many people, Mrs. Peck related her story as a woman whose sufferings from her abortion brought vividly described grief and sorrow to her life. She stated, “Abortion is the real war on women.” She told the audience that she lost her ability to conceive because of her abortion. And she stated, “Planned Parenthood does not give good information.”
Mrs. Peck related her experience with her loss of fertility led she and her husband to decide to adopt. She said her adoption was approved on Mother’s Day. She confided that she had hated Mother’s Day but her son, John Paul, brought her much love and now she and her husband have decided to adopt a second child. Her son, John Paul, is a handsome, lively lad with great energy and a great love for ice cream!
Mr. Wayne Winsley, candidate for Congress in the 2nd District (running against Rosie DeLauro), was introduced. His speaking style was subdued but he clearly knew Connecticut history. He recognized, for the audience, the role of religious liberty in the founding of Connecticut. He noted Thomas Hooker’s role in the fight for religious liberty. Candidate Winsley stated, “religious freedom is the core principle of America.” He asked the crowd to vote for him so he might defeat Rosie DeLauro.
Deacon Tom Davis, from the Melkite Greek Catholic Church where he serves at St. Ann’s in Danbury. Deacon Davis serves as the Associate Director of the Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College.
Deacon Tom spoke of a law proposed by some Connecticut state legislators in 2009 eliminating their authority in parish corporations and were successfully countered by strong preaching in Catholic communities which were then subjected to an investigation by a state agency claiming that the church was engaged in unauthorized lobbying when it opposed the proposed and obviously unconstitutional law. That attempted “payback” resulted in a lawsuit by the Diocese of Bridgeport (led by then Bishop – now Archbishop – Lori) and the state backed down.
He spoke of the Prophet Isaiah who reminded us of our sacred calling. And he implored us to vow to, “never allow any government to tell us the limits of love.”
The work of the Connecticut Family Institute and the pro life community at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven were noted by several speakers. If people can support either of these, please do so. Mr. Peter Wolfgang’s leadership and spirited introductions for each speaker were only exceeded by his grasp of the importance of this day’s events.
The last speaker Mr. Wolfgang introduced was Attorney Martha Dean. Attorney Dean said she became a Catholic in 2005 and she has never been so proud of the Catholic Church as she is now. She thanked the leadership of the Church for their hard work.
Then she aimed squarely at the left in this country.
In a spirited, personable style, Attorney Dean sliced and diced the politics of the left. She pointed out that they have brought us perilously close to fascism. The actions of the left have stamped out thought and reason from our university professors. The policies of the left have divided us by class. The policies of the left have divided us by race. The policies of the left have divided us by gender and they have divided us by religion.
And, she said the policies of the left have left us sunk in a swamp of immorality and devalued.
She asserted, “We can learn to practice the loving act and say no to the culture of death.” She called upon us to “learn to act in love for this is the road that leads to life.”
Mr. Peter Wolfgang called upon the audience to take 4 actions:
1) PRAY for the right decision by our Supreme Court on Obama Care. Pray Obamacare goes down so the HHS mandate will go down at the same time.
2) Pray for success of the lawsuits against the HHS mandate
3) Pray for success for the Blunt Amendment to repeal the HHS Amendment.
4) Talk to your friends and neighbors so they will be informed and pray, also.
Franciscan Sister Rose Ann said the final prayer for the crowd. Many people stayed on the green and circulated with encouraging words for their friends and new friends.