Posted by Matt Yonke (March 12, 2013 at 10:28 am)
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) announced proposed 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].
See you there!
Posted by John Jansen (January 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm)
Earlier today the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition encouraged everyone to take part in Standing with Hobby Lobby Day tomorrow, January 5.
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.)
The article is provocatively titled “The HHS Mandate and Judicial Theocracy.” In it, Dr. Melissa Moschella draws attention to the core of the argument put forth by Judges Jackson and Heaton and their respective decisions: [Continue reading ...]
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!
Posted by Matt Yonke (January 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm)
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 ...]
Posted by Matt Yonke (December 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm)
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan (right) has ruled that the Archdiocese of New York may move forward with its case against the Obama Administration over the HHS Mandate.
The administration had argued that, because they had granted a year long “safe harbor” period to religious institutions before the Mandate would take effect, the Archdiocese and other groups had no standing to sue yet.
But Judge Cogan disagreed, saying:
Fundamentally . . . this Court cannot accept that the present costs incurred by plaintiffs are simply the result of their “desire to prepare for contingencies.” Quite frankly, ignoring the speeding train that is coming towards plaintiffs in the hope that it will stop might well be inconsistent with the fiduciary duties that plaintiffs’ directors or officers owe to their members. As explained above, the practical realities of administering health care coverage for large numbers of employees — which defendants’ recognize — require plaintiffs to incur these costs in advance of the impending effectiveness of the Coverage Mandate. That is a business reality that any responsible board of directors would have to appreciate. [Continue reading ...]
Posted by Eric Scheidler (November 30, 2012 at 10:00 am)
Note: Stand Up Rally co-director Eric Scheidler published this article on the Pro-Life Action League website shortly after the 2012 election. Since the pro-life and religious freedom movements are so closely allied, readers of this site may be interested in Eric’s remarks.
Several liberal commentators and even a few conservatives are gleefully reporting exit polls for last week’s election showing 59% of voters say they believe abortion should be legal in “most or all cases,” a sure sign that the pro-life movement is losing and that the advantage on social issues has swung to Democrats.
That’s one way to add up the numbers, recruiting the 30% of voters who say abortion should be legal in most cases to legitimize the more hard-core pro-choice position that there should be legal in all cases, as 29% of voters polled believe.
But here’s another way to do the math: add that 30% who believe abortion should be legal in most (but not all) cases to the 24% who believe it should be illegal in most cases and the 13% who believe it should always be illegal, and you find that 66% of voters believe abortion should be illegal in at least some cases.
2012 Exit Poll on Abortion
Which comes closest to your position? Abortion should be:
Legal in all cases: 29%
Legal in most cases: 30%
Illegal in most cases: 23%
Illegal in all cases: 13%
Source: Fox News
In other words, fully two-thirds of thirds of the electorate holds a position on abortion contrary to that espoused by either President Obama or Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who will not name a single case in which abortion should not be a woman’s choice. [Continue reading ...]
Posted by Matt Yonke (November 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm)
In March of 2012, Frank O’Brien and his business, St. Louis based O’Brien Industrial Holdings LLC. (offices pictured left), filed suit against the US Department of Human Services.
O’Brien claimed that the department’s contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violated O’Brien’s religious freedom by forcing him to provide contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs to his employees through their health plans.
This October, U.S. District Judge Carole Jackson ruled against O’Brien, saying:
This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff’s religious exercise.
First HHS Mandate Challenge to Reach Federal Appeals Court
O’Brien immediately appealed his case to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and today, LifeNews.com reports that he was granted a preliminary injunction ruling that O’Brien Industrial Holdings does not have to obey the HHS Mandate while the case is pending. [Continue reading ...]