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War Against HHS Mandate Widens and Intensifies

Fallout from the controversial HHS mandate continues as the president's job approval plummets among Catholics and an ever widening coalition forms with a variety of public protests planned for across the country.

The Obama Administration's attempt to quell the uprising over a mandate forcing religious institutions to pay for insurance coverage of services that violate their consciences, appears to have failed with the scope of the protest widening every day.

Perhaps the most disconcerting news for the president was a new poll conducted by Rasmussen which found that 59 percent of likely Catholic voters now disapprove of his job performance. This is in spite of the fact that a large percentage of Catholic women of child-bearing age use birth control, which proves that the U.S. bishops have been successful in keeping the faithful focused on the real issue - that the mandate is an infringement of religious liberty - rather than as a refusal to provide access to birth control, which proponents are trying to do.

But this isn't just a Catholic issue anymore. A broad alliance of fiscal, social and national security conservatives and leaders of the Tea Party movement, many of whom came together on Monday of this week to denounce the mandate, are now calling upon the president to repeal the law fully and unconditionally.

“The Obama administration’s mandate that Catholics provide contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient services is the greatest assault on religious freedom in the history of the Republic,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center and member of the alliance.

“Never before has this nation ever witnessed the federal government so ruthless in its over-reach of power, and so dismissive of the Constitution,” said Bozell. “This is an issue that affects every Catholic and non-Catholic, should it be another Christian, a Jew, even a non-believer. To allow this ‘rule,’ as this administration so arrogantly calls it, to stand is to surrender our most basic freedom, the freedom of conscience. We cannot.”

Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general to President Ronald Reagan, also joined the group. He called the mandate "an example of one of the greatest attempts at the shredding of the Constitution in our history.”

Unless citizens stand up for this most fundamental of our freedoms, "we will have allowed the destruction of the basic tenet of our democratic republic: a government that acts only with the consent of the governed,” Meese said.

A total of 38 conservative leaders have thus far joined in demanding a stop to President Obama’s attack on the freedom of conscience. In addition to Bozell, Meese, and Levin, other members of the alliance include Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. Michael Farris, Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, House Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, media heavy-weight Andrew Breitbart, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring and Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness.

Also included in the alliance are leaders of many conservative groups, such as Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest; Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition and Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coaltion, Ron Robinson of the Young America’s Foundation, and Don Feder of the World Congress of Families.

In addition to this coalition, pro-life citizens are also banding together to host a prayer vigil, news conference and public witness in front of the White House on Thursday to denounce the mandate and profess their allegiance with the U.S. bishops in fighting the mandate.

The movement, called "A Time to Stand", is led by the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition. It is the result of a meeting of faith and pro-life leaders who held a nationwide conference call on Monday to decide how to publicly respond to the Administration's mandates.

Thursday's protest will be one of many in which the administration will be sent a clear message that the faith community will spend time in jail rather than be coerced into complying with an immoral and unjust mandate.

"The faith community can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious liberty," Rev. Mahoney said.

"We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials that we would rather spend time in a dark prison cell than be coerced into complying with an immoral and unjust government mandate."

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life agrees. "The Obama Administration has attacked ideals, principles, and protections for which Americans have fought and died for. Therefore, the reaction is not only in the press, in the courts, and in the Congress. It is, should be, and will be in the streets.  Civil disobedience must be a part of the response."

A nationwide protest is already in the works for March 23 and will give all citizens a chance to speak out against this mandate.

As Rev. Mahoney promises: "We will be peaceful.  We will be humble.  We will be prayerful. But, we will stand!"

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