We Rallied For Religious Freedom. What Does This mean?
Posted by Monica Migliorino Miller (October 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm)
A Reflection on the October 20th Stand Up RallyAs I write these words—the most important election in American history will take place in just two weeks—an election that will decide the very future of our nation and so much is at stake.
For the first time since the pilgrims disembarked the Mayflower the issue of religious liberty is something that voters must take into consideration when they discern for whom they will cast their vote on Nov. 6th. This is the time in which we live!
Even with the election of Obama four short years ago (and for many it may seem like a lot longer) who would have predicted that religious liberty would be under attack through this president’s administration in the Health and Human Services Mandate? Even all those Catholics who voted for Obama—but for whom Obama’s support for legalized abortion should have been enough of a disincentive—never envisioned that this president would initiate and stand by a decree that so seriously compromises the consciences of people of faith.
Now Catholics, Protestants, Jews, all people of faith, and indeed all people of good will have another serious issue with which to measure current candidates for office!
Obama announced the HHS mandate at the end of January 2012. The Stand Up for Religious Freedom nationwide rally, immediately in the wake of this announcement, became a reality, and it is still the only national public event that has voiced opposition to the HHS mandate—the only event that took this opposition to the streets and provided the absolutely essential public voice of protest to this unjust government intrusion into religious practice and ministry. While the turn out for the 3rd rally was not as high as the first two, well, let’s put some perspective into the October 20th head-count.
We need to keep in mind that it is very possible that holding the rally on a Saturday, rather than a Friday, actually contributed to lower attendance. Weekends are actually a time when families have other duties to which they must attended. October weather may have played its role and let’s also keep in mind that many of those who support these rallies and who would have attended the October 20th event were actually out working for the candidates that support religious freedom—which is exactly what we want!
This is the 3rd rally since the end of March! There is simply nothing that can compare to the national scope, success and influence of these rallies—after all, even the March for Life happens only once a year! That the Stand Up rally kept the momentum going since March means that the October rally was a huge success. October 20th rallies took place in 140 cities. This means that we have seen no less than a whopping 440 rallies for religious freedom in just 9 months with a total of 150,000 people participating literally all across America—coast to coast! This sort of public protest is unprecedented!
The October 20th rally attracted tens of thousands of participants—the vast majority of whom were new attendees! The October rally saw great speakers, great enthusiasm and more than respectable press coverage!
The following is all that needs to be said:— no matter how many people come out, no matter whether speakers are mediocre or spectacular orators, no matter if media coverage is extensive or poor: These rallies have to take place—and if Obama wins the election, more and more public opposition must be launched!
These Stand Up rallies have raised up hundreds of new activist leaders—leaders with fire in their belly who have now cultivated significant organizational skills to take this movement into the future! New leaders have been raised up prepared for the fight! That alone is a huge success—and let’s not ever underestimate the importance of this dimension of what these rallies are all about!
The October rally is one of the most important ways that public awareness is kept alive concerning the threat of the HHS mandate—indeed, it may be argued that this rally was the primary way that attention has been kept on the injustice of the HHS mandate as our nation heads into the general election.
It’s not just about the rally event itself but the post-rally videos, blogs, Face Book pages, Tweets, news articles and photos, still being generated, that extends the rally into the future and also keeps the issue of the threat to religious liberty alive in these final days before the election.
A great huge heartfelt thanks goes to all the dedicated rally captains. You are the engine that drive these rallies!
Thank you to all the speakers who lent their time, talent and prestige to these events. Thanks to all the bishops and religious leaders who spoke at these rallies and gave their support for this public protest. And thanks to all those who came out and participated in this essential exercise of our American First Amendment right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Let us pray and work for the defense of that primary First Amendment right—the right to religious liberty—and for the graces needed to stand up for what we believe against all governmental attacks and persecution—even if it means jail—even if it means death.
God bless you all
Monica Migliorino Miller
Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally national co-chairman
Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society ProLifeSociety.com