The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring another Fortnight for Freedom this year from June 21 to July 4, in response to the still looming threats to our religious freedom like the HHS Mandate.
From Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine and all points in between, dioceses across the country will be encouraging prayer and action to bring awareness to this crucial issue.
The bishops have asked for the assistance of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition and we are very excited to offer our resources to assist with the planning and execution of any rallies that may be held during the Fortnight.
Our national team can help with plans for a rally your diocese is hosting, or help connect you with the right people in your diocese to get one going if none is yet planned.
You can find a full list of diocesan events around the country right here, and if you’d like the Stand Up Coalition’s assistance with an event near you, send us a message on our contact form.
You’ve got till midnight tonight to let the administration know that you believe forcing business owners to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health plans is a gross violation of our First Amendment rights.
This issue has elicited more feedback than any other item, don’t leave your voice out of the conversation! Planned Parenthood and their cronies are pushing their forces to speak up in favor of the Mandate, so get a move on! And be sure to tell all your friends to do the same via e-mail and your social networks.
Don’t let this last chance to speak up pass you by! Make your voice heard right here and stand up for religious freedom today!
Three years after Congress approved President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), contraceptive care remains its most controversial provision, drawing not only more comments than any other regulatory proposal on any subject government-wide, according to an analysis of federal regulations on Sunlight’s Docket Wrench.
More than 147,000 people and organizations have made their voices heard over the debate, most of them opposing the provision that requires that federal agencies have interpreted to mean that women have access to preventive services—including contraception—at no cost. The Catholic Church has led the charge, urging parishioners to write with messages such as “Pregnancy is not a disease, and drugs and surgeries to prevent it are not basic health care that the government should require all Americans to purchase.”
Today we see a huge victory for the protection of our First Amendment rights as a direct outgrowth of last year’s Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally effort as protesters whose rights were violated at the June Rally in Dayton, Ohio are vindicated and free speech is protected.
At the June 8 Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair Community College campus police told participants that they had to put down their “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” and “Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate” signs because of the school’s speech code which outrageously banned all signs because they could potentially be used as weapons.
I remember clearly when Eric Scheidler received a phone call from Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries, one of the speakers at the rally, during our own Rally in Chicago. Bryan and Rally Captain Ruth Deddens were shocked that police were asking them to put down signage during a First Amendment Rally! [Continue reading ...]
Posted by Matt Yonke (February 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm)
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has released a statement today on behalf of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops declaring that, as things stand, President Obama’s recent “accommodation” policy regarding the HHS Mandate will not satisfy the USCCB’s concerns about religious liberty.
Dolan listed three key areas of concern: the narrow understanding of a religious ministry; compelling church ministries to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching; and disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners. These are the same concerns articulated by the USCCB Administrative Committee in its March 2012 statement, United for Religious Freedom.
From his statement:
The Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries. It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education, and Catholic charities. HHS offers what it calls an “accommodation,” rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our Church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.
Despite the fact the accommodation amounts to nothing more than the same shell game the administration has been playing since the Mandate was first announced, the bishops have remained steadfast in their commitment to work with the administration until a compromise that truly respects religious liberty can be reached.
Read Dolan’s full statement right here and check back to this blog for more as the situation develops.
Posted by Eric Scheidler (February 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm)
Today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcedproposed new rules allegedly intended to accommodate the moral objections of religious employers to the HHS Mandate.
Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally co-directors Eric Scheidler and Monica Miller, who coordinated over 250 individual rallies coast-to-coast last year in opposition to the HHS Mandate, issued the following statement in response:
Nearly a year after promising to provide an “accommodation” for religious employers who object to the HHS Mandate, the Obama administration has finally issued proposed new rules. While we await a full analysis of these proposed rule changes from legal experts, a first look at what the Obama administration is offering makes it clear that the objections of religious employers have not been taken seriously.
The Obama administration is now offering a complicated scheme whereby employers can “self-certify” to the insurance provider they’ve contracted with that they are “exempt” from the contraceptive mandate, and leave it to the insurer to arrange free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs for employees, or students, in the case of educational institutions.
At the end of the day, religious institutions like Catholic hospitals and Christian universities are still being forced by the federal government to participate in a scheme whereby their employees are provided free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
It’s unconscionable that employees and students at an institution like Ave Maria University, which upholds the unchanging Catholic doctrine that contraception assaults human dignity, would receive free contraceptives thanks to their employment or enrollment there.
More disturbingly still, businesses like Hobby Lobby, which are not dedicated to specifically religious purpose but which nevertheless operate upon a basis of faith, are offered no protection whatsoever for their religious and moral objections to providing these services. The Obama administration is still claiming the right to decide who gets to exercise freedom of religion in the public square.
We encourage all who have been opposing the HHS Mandate to object to these unacceptable proposed rule changes during the public comment period before final rules are issued in April. Meanwhile, our public protest and education efforts will continue unabated.
Posted by John Jansen (January 23, 2013 at 3:12 pm)
This Friday, January 25, hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers will descend on Washington, DC for the 40th annual March for Life.
If you’re one of them, you’re invited to march along with Stand Up Rally co-directors Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League—along with a host of other Rally captains from across the country—under a huge “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” banner.
Meet at 1:00 p.m. at the southeast corner of Madison Drive NW and 7th Street NW [map].
Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green, filed a federal lawsuit over the HHS Mandate last year, but their request for emergency injunctive relief was denied by federal district Judge Joe Heaton, meaning that the Greens could face $1.3 million in fines per day for their refusal to comply with the Mandate, which went into effect January 1.
A fascinating article appeared in The Public Discourse this week that points out the rather frightening implications of Judge Heaton’s ruling, as well as another ruling by Judge Carol Jackson, who had previously dismissed another challenge to the HHS Mandate brought by St. Louis businessman Frank O’Brien. (Jackson’s ruling was subsequently overturned by the Eighth Circuit federal appeals court, but Heaton’s ruling was upheld by Tenth Circuit.)
Posted by Matt Yonke (January 4, 2013 at 10:18 am)
Facebook user Joe Grabowski has declared tomorrow, Saturday, January 5 Standing with Hobby Lobby Day in solidarity with their courageous stand against the HHS Mandate.
Hobby Lobby has been denied an injunction while their lawsuit against the Mandate is being tried and could face $1.3 million in fines per day for their refusal to comply. Standing with Hobby Lobby day encourages everyone who supports that stand to shop at Hobby Lobby tomorrow. Here’s the description from the Facebook event page:
On Saturday, January 5th, all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS Mandate’s unfair impositions upon religious individuals and corporate entities are called upon to show their support for Hobby Lobby by shopping either at their local retail Hobby Lobby store or online.
Over 32,000 have already joined the event online. You can join the event on Facebook here and find your closest Hobby Lobby store here.
Courageous businesses like Hobby Lobby need our support. Their lawsuits could be our last chance to undo President Obama’s pernicious HHS Mandate. Stand up for religious freedom and stand with Hobby Lobby tomorrow!
Triune Health Group, a Chicago-based health management company, has become the tenth plaintiff to receive a temporary injunction ruling that they do not need to obey the HHS Mandate while their suit against the government over the controversial policy is pending.
The company, run by devout Catholic couple Chris and Mary Anne Yep (pictured), was rated the best workplace in Chicago for women by Crain’s Chicago Business—an astounding irony given that, in the eyes of President Obama and his cohorts, the Yeps are part of the supposed “war on women” that was such an issue in last November’s elections. [Continue reading ...]