Thousands of Americans are gathering today at 160 locations across the United States to peacefully protest the federal government’s coercive trampling on religious liberty through the Health and Human Services (HHS) anti-conscience mandate.
Today’s Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies are a continuance of the events held on March 23 in front of capitols, historic sites, and even the HHS, where the offensive anti-conscience mandate originated.
The demand for protection of religious freedom evidenced in today’s rallies could not be more pressing. In less than eight weeks, the mandate will take effect, forcing all non-exempted employers to provide and pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization—regardless of their religious or moral objections to such services.
Many speakers at today’s rally in Washington, D.C., denounced the mandate’s narrow religious exemption that applies only to organizations that primarily hire and serve people who share the same faith.
Schools, soup kitchens, health clinics, and countless other “Good Samaritan” groups are left completely unprotected by the exemption simply because they serve vulnerable individuals without regard to their creeds or backgrounds. Those organizations are left with an untenable choice: violate their deeply held beliefs, or forgo providing health insurance and risk the penalty of hefty fines.
It is that dismissive view of the role faith plays in spurring people to care for others and the usurping of religious freedom granted by the Constitution that motivates today’s peaceful protests.
Lila Rose, president of LiveAction, stated at today’s rally: “We know what the HHS mandate is really about: twisting the arm of people of faith….We will not and we cannot comply with this unjust mandate.”
The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies come on the heels of continued outcry against the mandate. More than 50 organizations have filed legal complaints over the HHS mandate, demanding relief from the coercive rule and firmly declaring that the religious freedom afforded by the Constitution—not by bureaucrats—is a non-negotiable right.
[W]hat exactly can we negotiate when it comes to religious freedom already guaranteed by the Constitution? Why are we now forced to concede to the government religious freedom that has always been guaranteed by the Constitution?…The church cannot be forced to violate its own sacred beliefs. To do so starkly contradicts everything we have been taught and know about religious freedom in the United States.
Whether it is through legal action, signing petitions, or attending religious freedom rallies, Americans are simply asking for greater respect of their right to say “no” to a coercive, overbearing government.