Dear Readers: I attended the “Standing Up for Religious Freedom” rally today, held in front of the San Diego County Administrative Building by the harbor. I was joined by over 700 locals, who were keen on sending the following message: We are standing for our First Amendment protections of religious freedom, which are under assault from the Obama Administration.
The event was one of over 150 held nationwide (up from my initial report of 50). Before I get into the “meat of the message”, I would like to take a few moments to comment on the coverage.
Our opponents must be very worried. They sense they have “awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve”. The elite media reports I am reviewing, with the jaundiced eye of a recovering reporter, are going out of their way to minimize this unification of religious faiths across this country in standing behind the Catholic Church in its defiance to implement the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate to offer contraceptive/abortion/sterilization coverage in health plans.
For example, NPR has taken the tack of using messaged poll questions to indicate that “Most Americans — including most Catholics — do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today.Perhaps the pollster contacted some beltway “cafeteria Catholics” with ginned-up questions that misdirect the nature of what the Catholic church is fighting (i.e., it denies no one access to any desired and option medical coverage; the Church, however, does not want to pay for procedures it views as evil and NOT essential to healthcare). On the other hand, Mexican-born mother Anna Angeles brought her whole family down to send this message: “I am here to protect my Catholic faith and the holy Church.”
As Anna notes: “When everything goes dark, the light of the saints is brighter.”
But apparently not the news coverage. I managed to locate the San Diego Union Tribune report on this event — not on the main page, but on a secondary one devoted to government and politics (despite the fairly significant size of the rally). Laughably, they use the term “hundreds”. Yes, I suppose technically “700” qualifies as “hundreds”, and I should be grateful they didn’t claim “dozens”. However, the is really a conservative estimate, as I overheard a security officer indicate 1000. Also, the number does not account for the steady stream of honks of support that were offered.
I met up with some other Ascension Catholic Parish members while I was down there, who seemed very concerned about the First Amendment (I guess NPR failed to poll them). My friend, Roger Jones, said the presence of he and his wife Angela sends the following message: “The Government cannot be the all-encompassing source of social services, especially at the expense of our faith and traditions”.
No, but it sure seems its going to try. I also met another Catholic, who is a veteran of four Tea Party events, named Bunnie Wells. I guess the NPR poll failed to take her views into consideration:
I finally had the chance to meet Nick Popaditch, the former Marine who is an award-winning author and popular speaker, who is running against Susan Davis for Congressional District 53 this year. He is not a Catholic, but wanted to stand in support, as he is a fellow Christian also concerned about the First Amendment implications. Nick indicates that he believes this is mandate is “an over-stepping of authority” by this Administration and that it ultimately will be rescinded.
I hope Nick is right, and wish him good luck in what promises to be a most formidable campaign. We were joined by Cheryl Perez, a follower of a Native American religion and who I had met at a previous citizen-oriented event. She wanted her presence to underscore the fact that we Americans “have to show that we have eachother’s backs, in terms of protecting our freedom to worship as our conscience dictates. If the government can force Catholics into doing something that they feel is sacrilegious, then what will stop it from undermining other faiths with even more do-gooder policy dictates?”
At that point, the speakers began. I will hit a few of the highlights. One of the lead guests was Coadjuter Bishop of the San Diego Diocese, Cirilo Flores. The fact that the newly named Bishop was a keynote speaker should underscore how seriously the Catholic Church takes this threat to its teachings.
“Religious freedom is not a gift from politicians: It is a gift from God,” said Bishop Flores. “Today’s debate is not about the access to contraceptives…it is about the federal government forcing the Church to act against its teachings”.
I guess NPR failed to chat with the Bishop. NPR is going to be more than a little surprised about how much influence Flores, fellow bishops, and other clergy intend to use in the effort to fully inform their church members and parishioners. In fact, a later speaker mentioned that every one of the Bishops in the 194 Diocese within this country wrote a formal letter of protest to the Obama Administration. The content of those letters is making its way to millions of American Catholics. Sadly for NPR, I suspect the opinion of Bishop Flores and other clergy (Catholic and Otherwise) will weigh more with the faithful than a rigged poll from an elite media group.
Bishop Flores continued: “Who or what gives government the right to govern or mission or define our ministry. Our hospitals, charities, schools and university — thousands of institutions wold be impacted.”
Another speaker, Dr. George Delgado of Culture of Life Family Services (a Christ-centered medical group) expanded upon the potential of Obamacare implementation to bankrupt the country, and noted that “fertility was not illness but part of a normal physiological profile.” When he mentioned Sandra Fluke, the crowed expressed its displeasure most vigorously.
At that point, an audience member and I got into a quiet discussion on the Obama Administration and the elite media attempting to manipulate women. Claire Fadden said: “I hope women realize that they are being played. There is total access to contraception, and any other service a woman might want. However, people need to take care of themselves so that we have the resources to take care of the truly sick and needy.”
A great number of American women have figured out that you can get contraception for $9/month at Walmart, and clinics and other facilities may make it available at even less of a price. So why can’t a 30-year old Georgetown student? Which leads me to highlight the speaker of the day I enjoyed most: Dr. Jennifer Morse of the Ruth Institute.
Any regular reader knows I despise gender feminism with the flaming hot passion of 1000 suns. I think I met a women who detests them even more. “Feminists have sold women a bill of goods,” said Dr. Morse. “Young women are pressured to chemically neuter themselves to participate in the workforce”.
Frankly, I am tired of the elites in the Washington DC- New York Beltway, Hollywood, and in other supposedly esteemed enclaves assuming that women want to be treated as nothing more than vehicles of pleasure. However, instead of going on a rant, I will direct you to Dr. Morse’s far more entertaining view: How hedonism became America’s official religion
I suspect the “War on Women” is not going quite the way Team Obama, the elite media, or NPR planned.
Speaking of “war”, Joe Infranco of the Alliance Defense Fund, indicated that quite a battle was brewing over this HHS mandate. His organization has already set-up 2 lawsuits related to the this requirements, and offers free representation to any religious organization who refuses to comply.
When the event was over, I asked Father Anthony which statement most impacted him. He indicated it was a remark made by Chuck Limandri of the Thomas Moore Law Centerthat there has been a rich history of American pastors leading the charge for important moral change from the pulpit (e.g., the American Revolution, the End of Slavery, the Civil Rights movement). In fact, one of the targets for several of the representative organizations in today’s rally is the rescinding of the 1954 Johnson Amendment that threatens churches with the loss of their tax-exempt status if pastors speak from the pulpit about political candidates. I believe that the Obama Administration will soon discover that their ham-handed HHS tactics had lots and lots of unintended consequences.
NPR really can’t quantify this sort of thing a poll. War really doesn’t translate well into statistics.
Which leads me to my pick for “SIGN of the DAY”:
One of my favorite prayers:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
I would like to thank B-Daddy of the Liberator today, who I met at the event. It was fortunate, as I didn’t have access to my initial salvo of pictures. He has a report here: Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally San Diego.
I would also like to thank B-Daddy for his selections in the “Weekend Music Chill”, which takes a decided Catholic turn:
I had a great time at today’s “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” event at the county building in San Diego. My favorite line was about Obama uniting Christian denominations. To show a little solidarity with Temple of Mut and especially with the thoughts expressed in her blog Flight into Egypt, here I have some music today that is very different from what I normally post.
CHECK IT OUT!!!!
B-Daddy also said to me something profound that I wanted to share: That Americans need both groups — the fiscally oriented Tea Party groups and the socially conservative organizations focused on Constitutional matters — if we are going to prevail in curbing the excesses of government waste, fraud and abuse.
OTHER “STAND UP” REPORTS AND EVENTS – As I find reports and articles about the other 140 events nationwide, I will post them here:
WASHINGTON POST: Why we’re standing up for religious freedom By Mary Rose Somarriba
Thousands of Pro-Life Advocates Rally for Religious Freedom: Thousands of pro-life Americans took to nearly 200 local rallies in cities and towns across the country to stand up for religious freedom and against the Obama mandate that requires employers to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions. The rally in Washington, D.C. was so large organizers had problems getting the entire crowd in one picture.
The Anchoress has a compendium of events: Best Rally Sign I’ve Yet Seen! UPDATES From the comments section:
- In Cincinnati we had between 800 and 1000 on the steps in front of our cathedral — and it poured for the entire hour.
- I attended the rally in Chicago today in the midst of a downpour. Estimates are that there were upwards of 2,000 people there–men, women, children, seniors and, yes, a handful of kooks. Still, it was an inspiring turnout. The local media mostly ignored it.
- In St Louis, we had 100-150 gather outside Sen. McCaskill’s office (who coincidentally is in the ad as I type this).
The Sarah Palin Information Blog also has a summary of events: Amidst Mainstream Media Blackout, Thousands Rally Nationwide for Religious Freedom. The blog includes some great video and graphics — check it out!!!!
Some of the items they list:
- Hundreds Attend Nashville ‘Rally For Religious Freedom’
- Courthouse crowd rallies for religious liberty (Allentown)
- I Stood For Religious Freedom in Norfolk, Virginia: Freedom Movement in America
- Hundreds attend a rally on Wall Street
- Hundreds rally in Goshen against Obamacare
- Protestors rally for religious freedom (Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids)
- Catholic bishop, opponents of contraception mandate rally at Birmingham federal courthouse (slideshow, video)
- Hundreds stand up at religious freedom rally downtown Orlando
- Buffalonians Rally for Religious Freedom
- Rally for Religious Freedom’ Takes Place In Tulsa
- Dozens rally in downtown Fort Wayne for religious freedom
- Havasu residents rally for Religious Freedom Day
For a more humorous war, check out Word Warrior: DOG AND CAT DIARIES. Also, check out Part 4 in his excellent “Age of Arthur” series.