Standing Up for Religious Freedom

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

On Friday, across the nation, folks in 118 cities rallied in defense of religious freedom. (You may remember that similar Friday lunch-hour rallies were held in March.) This past Friday, rallies were hooked to the 223rd anniversary of James Madison presenting what would become the Bill of Rights to Congress. They come in the wake of alarm over the unprecedented attacks on religious liberty from the federal government. More than the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing pills, we’re living at a time where religious liberty, and liberty itself, is being redefined: As something the government accommodates rather than a God-given right it protects. Will you stand for this radical secularist view of man and the state, or for religious freedom? Whether or not you were at a rally on Friday, you can still do some educating.

Some snapshots:

From Naples, Fla.:



#more#From Detroit, Mich.: (courtesy of NRO reader, Richard):


Athens, Ga.:



Buffalo, N.Y.:

From San Francisco (courtesy of NRO reader Eva):


Fort Lauderdale (thanks to Genevieve):


Wilmington, Delaware (courtesy of NRO reader Mike): 



Birmingham, Ala.



West Palm Beach.

Scranton, Pa.

From Washington, D.C. (thank you, Amanda):


From Federal Hall in New York City:  


Ed Mechmann from the Archdiocese of New York told the crowd, previewing the upcoming Fortnight of Freedom:

We pray that our government will respect fundamental rights.

We pray that all Americans will re-dedicate themselves to the freedoms we hold most dear.

We pray that our nation, under God, will have a new birth of freedom, and that faith, and truth, and liberty, will never be threatened again. 

Want to stand up for religious freedom today? Read and e-mail a link, share a little information; some links:

George Weigel on “The Mandate War”: 

Legal victory in the third and fourth quarters of this battle is not certain, but it seems likely. For it is very difficult to see how the administration can justify this burdening of Catholic employers (and other employers with religiously informed moral objections to the mandate) under the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As the battle continues, it will be important, amidst the litigators’ argument and the administration’s attempts to reply, to remember that what is at stake here is nothing less than the future of civil society in the United States.

A victory in the lawsuits filed against the administration’s mandate will be more than a victory for religious freedom, important as that will be. It will be a victory in defense of the social architecture of American democracy. Government is not the only custodian of the common good. The institutions of civil society bear a significant and irreducible responsibility for the common good, a responsibility they must be able to fulfill freely, without unwarranted interference from an overweening state that is ignorant of the limits of its legitimate reach. That is the truth for which today’s Catholic litigants are contesting — and they are doing so on behalf of all Americans.

Gerry Bradley on religious liberty as afterthought.  

Ed Whelan corrects The New Yorker.

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