Mandate Rallies Draw Thousands Across America

An estimated 54,000 Americans in 140 cities turned out to protest the HHS mandate, which threatens religious liberty by imposing mandatory insurance coverage for birth control on all employers regardless of religious beliefs.

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According to USA Today, crowd estimates ranged from dozens to hundreds to thousands and included Catholic bishops alongside Protestant and Jewish leaders who encouraged the crowds to fight the mandate and stand up for religious freedom.

The New York rally drew more than 1,000 people to Federal Hall on Wall Street where a letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was read which commended the people for standing up for religious freedom.

“Since Jan. 20, when the final HHS mandate was announced, two things have been abundantly clear: Religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it,” the letter said. “Of course, this is not a ‘Catholic issue’ alone. It is wonderful to see so many of our fellow Americans of all faiths stand together in this important moment. Nor is this about what our opponents are marketing as ‘women’s health.’ It’s about the sacred right of any faith community to define its own teaching and ministry and the right of every person of faith to be free from being forced to do something that violates their conscience.”

In Philadelphia, a crowd of more than 600 gathered outside historic Independence Hall, where the quest for religious liberty began hundreds of years ago. Speaker Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council addressed the crowd, describing herself as a “conscientious objector.” The crowd roared with approval when she told them: “I refuse to play victim in a phony ‘war on women’ or let the federal government crush my religion.”

The rally in Detroit was much larger than anticipated with more than a 1,000 people turning out in front of a federal building in the city with signs declaring “America is a Christian nation” and calling upon Americans to fight back.

Detroit’s Free Press reports that Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, told the crowd:  “Christians were born for combat. Christ said, ‘I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ Peace is not our goal. Righteousness is our goal. It is our duty to resist.” His remarks drew loud applause.

More than 500 people turned out in front of the Capitol in Nashville Tennessee where Bishop David Choby called for a total repeal of the offensive mandate.

In Washington, DC, an estimated 1,300 participants turned out to hear speakers such as Star Parker, Lila Rose and others call for Americans to stand up for religious liberty.

That the rallies had little or no attention from the mainstream media was no surprise to anyone.

“One might expect that rallies in 140 cities against the federal government might be described, at the very least, as a large movement. But given that the media have ignored the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, where tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people protest against abortion, it will not be a complete surprise if the Big Three minimize or omit covering the pro-religious freedom demonstrations,” wrote Matthew Balan of Newsbusters.

He was right. The coverage was minimal and largely confined to the Internet.

Click here for the latest count of attendees at the various rallies.

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