Fighting for Religious Freedom in the Obama Era

After spending more than a decade in finance, Michael Volpe has worked as a freelance journalist since 2009. He's based in Chicago. Volpe published his first book in October 2012, titled "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall." His new book, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers," is now available.


On Saturday, October 20, 2012 citizens supporting religious freedom got together in over one hundred cities to protest the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom and the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate specifically. The mandate, which is being enforced by the Health and Human Services department, forces most institutions to cover, through health insurance, abortive and contraceptive services, even if that violates the religious conscience of the provider.

One of the hundred plus places where rallies occurred was Chicago, and FrontPage Magazine tagged along. This was the third such series of rallies, with nationwide rallies also occurring this past March and June in support of religious freedom. The crowds varied from a few dozen to several thousand. At its height, nearly one thousand people gathered in Chicago.

Eric Scheidler, one of the key organizers, took to the podium and explained the purpose of the event.

Here are some of the most interesting signs and sights.

One of themes of the rally was that the threat to religious freedom lies all throughout the government, from the federal to the local level. As such, symbolically, the rally in Chicago started on Federal Plaza and headed to the Richard Daley Center, a building that houses much of local government’s bureaucracy.

Leading the protestors were a group of relatively young, high-school age protestors from the group, Crusaders for Life. As they motivated the group by leading in some chants, the high-schoolers may have unwittingly tipped their proverbial hats to the famous movie Braveheart. In this clip, the Crusaders channel their inner William Wallace leading the protestors in chanting, “freedom.”

Next the young protestors tipped their caps to the movie Remember the Titans, with their variation on the “We are the Titans” song that the movie’s title team sang whenever they entered the field for a game.

One theme of the rally was that the HHS mandate was only one battle in a larger war against people of faiths. One other place where these battles are fought, said more than one speaker, was in the ability of people to express their faith in the public square. With that in mind, Father Rocky Hoffman led the group in a prayer right on the platform of Richard J. Daley Plaza (in other words in a public square).

Chris and Mary Anne Yep, owners of Triune Health Group, also spoke at the rally. They are both Catholics and are currently part of a larger group suing HHS over the mandate. The Yeps said that the mandate is a violation of their religious freedom because it forces them to cover abortive and contraceptive services for their employees that are against their conscience.

It was noted that their opponents call people like the Yeps anti-woman. Mary Anne Yep said that was ironic because in 2010, a survey by Crain’s Chicago Business found that their company was the number one workplace for females.

Finally, Angela Miceli, a Ph.D. candidate at Louisiana State University currently working on her dissertation on freedom of conscience, gave greater context on the threats to religious liberty.

Altogether, the event made a forceful presentation against the unconstitutional and imperious Heath and Human Services mandate. If such efforts continue, it is hopeful the mandate will indeed be repeal.

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  • Ghostwriter

    I'm not sure what to say.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mark.kendrick Mark Kendrick

    I know what to say. The mandate say no such thing. The people protesting 'religious freedom' are protesting an illusion. What they're protesting doesn't exist and will not exist in law. In addition, what the protesters are advocating is called pro-pregnancy. Forcing someone unrelated to you to carry a child because of your personal religious beliefs is Taliban-like in it's origin and nature. It has absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom. It has everything to do with forcing your personal religious viewpoint onto everyone in this nation.

    Please give up your infantile Bronze Age tribal mindset and enter the 21st century. The contraception issue has been settled for 50 years. You all are living in the past. 50 YEARS IN THE PAST.

    • mkat68

      Section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act, enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) (the “Obamacare” statute), provides that “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for— . . . (4) with respect to women, such additional preventive care and screenings . . . as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration . . . .”

      Those HRSA guidelines currently provide for “All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” Thus, the Obamacare statute mandates that employer group health plans cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, including contraception, sterilization procedures, and “emergency contraception” (as the FDA calls the Plan B, Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, and Ella “morning-after” pills).

      It doesn't exist in law? It already does.

      These people are not forcing anyone to carry a child because of their religious beliefs. They are not trying to have contraceptives banned for anyone, they are protesting being forced to pay for contraception for others (with contraception being a violation of their religious beliefs). Being forced to do anything that violates their religious beliefs is therefore a violation of religious freedom. The only infantile backwards notion here is that they are trying to force their viewpoint on anyone, when in fact they are defending it. It is liberals like you who have been trying to use the law to force their viewpoints on people for the past 50 years – project much, do we?

    • http://www.facebook.com/martha.c.benton Martha Benton

      Spoken like a true dumbed down liberal. YOU should be ashamed you didn't take advantage of your education and actually learn to READ. THEN you could read the ObamaCare takeover law for YOURSELF and not rely on Obama and the liberal media to 'tell you what they want you to believe'. ANYBODY voting for Obama after the 3 1/2 years he has flushed America down the toilet, do not deserve to live in America. Why? Because it's people like YOU that have put us in this mess.

    • Lsc

      Wow Mark, you don't make any sense at all and clearly could use a lesson in the difference between the Taliban and pro-life Christians. First, no one is forcing anyone to carry a child. That was a choice (in by far most cases), made by consenting adults. If they were irresponsible then they need to make another adult decision as to how they choose to handle it. Personally, I don't want to pay for their lack of responsibility. That being said, Christians heavily support adoptions, adoption agencies, fostering and hundreds of other related programs and charities, by choice. They should not be forced to go against their conscience and pay for murder. Your buddies who insist that we pick up their tab are the ones living in the past…way ack when birth control options were few and far between. Instead of picking on people of conscience, why don't suggest o your buddies that they look into birth control? Taliban like….lol. That's a foolish statement on so many levels.