Cincinnati, OH – As noon approached on Friday, the crowd sprawled from the front of St Peter in Chains Church down both sides of the roughly quarter mile block. It even flooded across the street. The pouring rain obviously didn’t deter the turnout of several hundreds of Christians from around the tri-state region and others representing various other religious groups from standing up for religious freedom. The group represented multiple demographics in that there were white collar workers, blue collar workers, retirees, babies, teens, young adults, entire families, and a few disabled people that had come to rally for the their religious freedoms that they felt were being violated by Obamacare.
Carl Brown, a business owner local to Cincinnati organized the rally in the downtown area, and rallies were also organized in Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and other cities in various states across the nation. A total of about 143 cities participated.
There was an electricity that seemed to flow through the atmosphere, and people were smiling and joyously enthusiastic as they waited for the rally to begin: but at the same time, there was an attitude of remorse over how the nation’s moral condition overall has deteriorated, and how the healthcare mandate is just another aspect of that decline. The rally opened with the crowd singing the “Star Spangled Banner” followed by prayer.
Brown confided that his motive for organizing the rally was because, “I love America and I hate to see freedom under attack.”
He went on to acknowledge that the freedom of American citizens is not only threatened, but that he feels that it’s eroding. He proceeded to introduce Paula Westwood, president of Cincinnati Right to Life to detail some of the ways that Obamacare is hastening that process, especially where religious freedom is concerned.
Westwood pointed out that there are 2500 references in the bill that allow the Health and Human Services Secretary, presently Kathleen Sebelius, to have expanded authority to “create, determine and define what this department does.” Not only is Sebelius one of the most pro-abortion officials on a federal level, but through Obamacare she has now become one of the most powerful.
Westwood highlighted a specific example of just how Sebelius is wielding her power by mentioning that this past January, Sebelius’ HHS department ruled that, “Virtually all private healthcare plans must cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs and contraceptives at no cost.”
Westwood added that, “This sweeping move ignores the conscience rights of any employers that do not want to provide such coverage, including non-profit religious institutions.”
She went on to note that not only is an outcry being sparked among Christians, but also some Jews, Muslims and other religious groups and even non-believers who see such a mandate as an assault on the gift of life and religious liberty to all Americans, “rights which are foundational to our country’s values.”
Westwood also quoted Sebelius’ words of support for a national healthcare system that provides taxpayer funded abortion services and contraceptives to a congressional panel earlier this month: “The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception and the estimated cost is down, not up.”
In relation to Sebelius’s words, Westwood pointed out that, “Friends, this is not freedom, this is population control!” She stopped short of suggesting that it could be a precursor to something similar to China’s one child policy, a policy that has already been revealed as being a part of the global warming agenda.
Westwood also explained that it was revealed this month that, “starting next year, anyone enrolled in an insurance plan that includes abortion must also pay a monthly dollar premium to cover the cost of other women’s abortions. The enrollee will make two payments: a dollar per month for the separate abortion fund, and another payment for the rest of their insurance services. Most people won’t know about this until they’ve signed up for their plan, because Secretary Sebelius has included a gag order where insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premium without disclosing that enrollees, that’s some of us, will be charged a dollar per month fee to directly subsidize abortion. This is not freedom, this is coercion!”
The crowd applauded and cheered as she continued, pointing out that last week, “the Obama administration expanded the originally announced mandate to require all universities, not only religious, to provide contraceptives, abortion inducing drugs and sterilization to their students, as well as their employees at no cost.”
She admonished that citizens need to be aware that these provisions that require, “what is called ‘patient education and counseling on contraceptive methods for all women with reproductive capacity.’ Now folks, women with reproductive capacity can be little girls as young as 9 or 10, and this counseling will not come from their parents! This is not freedom, this is indoctrination!”
The crowd applauded and cheered again and she further informed that the mandate is being opened up to a 90 day comment period to the public, but it will not change the fact that faith based groups must still provide abortion services and contraceptives. “This is not freedom,” Westwood insisted, “this is propaganda!”
More cheering and applause erupted.
Westwood went on to point out that syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker not only severely criticized the healthcare mandate, but she also predicted that religious institutions such as hospitals and religious personnel whose consciences are being violated by this mandate have one of two options: either refuse to comply or shut down their institution. This would have catastrophic consequences because, “one in six patients in the United States is cared for in a Catholic hospital.”
Westwood further stated that, “My friends, this battle is about whether we stand firm on our nation’s core beliefs in freedom, conscience and religious liberty, and the stakes could not be higher. We should not have to be here. We should not have to have rallies across the country. America’s founding fathers, from the beginning, sacrificed homes, happiness and life itself to establish these freedoms for us.”
It was eerie to hear bells begin to toll, which were totally unplanned, as she continued: “We must hold every political candidate and our US representatives, senators and the president accountable for this mandate. They are on notice. And most importantly, we must remember whether they stand for religious liberty at not at the ballot box this November.”
Westwood finished with a quote from a letter that George Washington wrote to Benedict Arnold: “We should be very cautions not to violate the rights of conscience in others ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men. And to Him only in this case are they answerable.”
The crowd erupted into a spontaneous chant of, “We will not comply!”
Brown quieted them by reminding them of a few religious leaders who are presently taking a stand on the issue, and petitions of repentance were offered to God, as well as prayer on behalf of the nation’s leaders and healthcare workers. In addition, there was prayer that God would pour out His mercy and restore America. Then Brown challenged the crowd to boldly speak out about what they’d heard and to try to encourage the involvement of additional churches.