By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday over 300 protestors gathered in Birmingham to demand that President Barack H. Obama rescind his decision to require that all employers must provide employees with free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences. The administration is defining the religious exemption in this so narrowly that even Church affiliated hospitals, schools, newspapers, etc. will be forced by the federal government to comply with his dictates.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange made the decision that the state of Alabama would join the Eternal Word Television Network when it filed a lawsuit against the federal government regarding the Health and Human Services mandate. “We’re in support of EWTN and their effort, they have religious objections to providing contraceptives, and they’ve provided ways to get insurance without that, and the issue to me is not contraceptives, it’s religious freedom, can you be forced to make a decision that you have a religious objection to,” said AG Strange.
The rally was held in Kelly Ingram Park on June 8, 2012, the 223rd anniversary of the day our Founding Father, James Madison. introduced the Bill of Rights, with its guarantee of religious freedom, to the First Congress. The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally was in conjunction with 164 similar rallies held all over the country and followed a previous Stand Up Rally on March 23. According to ‘The National Catholic Register’ Over 75,000 Americans participated in the Stand Up rallies on June 8th. Over 63,000 Americans came out in 145 cities across America to protest against the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that they say is a violation of the their First Amendment free expression of religion rights. The rallies were coordinated by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. The mainstream media has largely ignored the protests against President Obama’s policy.
EWTN is a Catholic Church affiliated organization headquartered in Irondale, AL that produces Catholic radio, cable television, and internet programming. The organization, founded by Catholic nun – Mother Angelica, is also the current owner of ‘The National Catholic Register’ (America’s oldest Catholic newspaper). EWTN was one of the first organizations to sue HHS and the Obama Administration claiming that the HHS mandate was a violation of their civil rights. Since then over 50 other religious organizations have filed a series of lawsuits challenging the mandate.
AG Strange told the crowd Friday that this is a battle that we will be fighting in this country for the next thirty years.
Organizers of the protests are hoping that President Obama and Secretary Sebelius will rescind their decision. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) gives the President enormous unilateral power to determine what is in the minimum healthcare plan. The Administration also claims that authority to determine which religious employers get to use the First Amendment to opt out of the Presidential directives.
Miami Archbishop Wenski told the Miami Times, “Obviously the administration has a deaf ear to our concerns. Obama had allies in the church, instead of using them he’s decided to alienate us and pick a fight.” “We think that the mandate is unjust, we think it violates the constitution, and we will prevail in the Supreme Court.”
The groups are hopeful that the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obamacare will overturn the unpopular Act which authorizes a massive federal takeover of the healthcare industry. If the Court deems the whole Act unconstitutional, the HHS mandate will also be struck down as well.
If the constitutionality of the individual mandate is upheld by the Court, the EWTN lawsuit will proceed as it is challenging the HHS mandate and not the same grounds that the state of Alabama and the other plaintiffs have already argued before the court.
Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare if he elected President of the United States as have most Republicans in or running for Congress. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama said recently, “I firmly support the full repeal of ObamaCare and will not support a Labor/HHS Appropriations bill that includes further discretionary funding for the program. According to last week’s NY Times poll, two-thirds of Americans hope the Supreme Court will overturn some or all of ObamaCare. The American people clearly do not want what ObamaCare will inevitably bring: higher taxes and lower quality of care.”