Despite the extensive focus Catholic bishops have given to the subject, rally organizer Jan Everson said it should not be mistaken as just a Catholic issue. “It’s an American issue,” she stated. “If you believe in what the mandate is doing or not, it is a restriction of religious liberty. It could just as well be a restriction of the press or a restriction of our freedom of speech. I think every American needs to take pause and understand what our country was founded upon. We need to protect those liberties.”
“We will not and we cannot uphold this unjust mandate.” –Margaret Kramer of Lake in the Hills
state Senate candidate Vicki Stogdill, a Des Moines Republican, challenged the crowd to vote to protect churches.
“If you’re living your faith, you really can’t separate it from your politics,” said Stogdill, who is a Lutheran.
Former Red Sox player Rico Petrocelli: “As a believer, and being pro-life, how can I possibly give an abortion-inducing drug to an employee, a female employee, and have a conscience?”
A reader writes:
After our kid’s soccer game this morning, my wife and I decided to head over to Seattle to check out the Religious Freedom Rally… the rally took place on the steps of the US District courthouse in downtown Seattle, which is obviously deep, dark blue. Because we got there late and were at the back of the crowd, and we had two very squirrelly boys (5 and 7) with us, I didn’t get to listen to all of the speeches with my full attention or catch all the names of speakers. I would estimate crowd size at about 150 or so, but I wasn’t in a spot to observe the full crowd.
It was well organized, with a solid sound system and “podium” area, a mix pre-made signs and home-made ones and well-rehearsed speeches.
Speakers included a couple of pastors (including Fr Jim Northrop from St Brendan’s in Bothel) , pro-life leaders… Dino Rossi
Some of the largest applause lines came when the point was made that this is not a Catholic, or Christian or even purely religious issue, but a question of quintessential American freedoms
There was a small, but loud counter-protest. They seemed to adjust their chants to the speaker. Some examples:
“Birth control is health care, health care is a right!”
“Two, four, six eight, separate church and state!” (apparently, the irony here was lost)
“free abortion on demand, (something-something I couldn’t make out)”
“pro life, that’s a lie! you don’t care if women die!”
and that old chestnut: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” (I was sort of hoping a counter chant of “keep your pill off my tax bill” would break out, but that never happened)