Fighting for Religious Freedom in the Obama Era

A fierce crowd shows that they are up for the battle.

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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