In follow-up of our most recent post, BCI has received several reports that the Boston “Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally” was a success, with about 300 people attending. Rallies were held at 140 different locations across the country, including Philadelphia, where about 2,000 people attended, and New York, where an estimated 1,000 people attended.
At noon on Friday, March 23, the rally was held at the Boston Common directly across from the Massachusetts State House. The speakers included:
- Massachusetts State Representative Jim Lyons
- Fr Jeremy Paulin OMV; Director of Vocations
- Clarivel Marin de Dragas, Mother, Wife and American Citizen
- Edwin J. Shanahan, Executive Director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life
- C.J. Doyle, Executive Director Catholic Action League of Massachusetts
- Scot Landry, WQOM (1060 AM) and Boston Archdiocese Secretary for Catholic Media
The event had been previously planned, canceled earlier this week, and then rescheduled with only about 24-48 hours advance notice, so getting about 300 people or more with literally zero advance publicity was pretty good. BCI was asked for speaker suggestions and we were pleased to see that a few made it to the event. No reports about the rally have been published in the mainstream media, so we are pleased to share with you several photos below.
Here is a report from the National Catholic Register on the rallies across the country, including Boston:
At Scores of Rallies, Thousands Hear Calls to Restore Constitutional Right to Religious Liberty
Stand Up for Religious Freedom marks second anniversary of Obamacare with peaceful, impassioned demonstrations against HHS contraceptive mandate.
by REGISTER STAFF AND CORRESPONDENTS 03/23/2012
– Matthew A. Rarey
From the halls of government in the nation’s capital to the hills of San Francisco, thousands of Americans turned out today across the country to voice their opposition to what they perceive as serious encroachments on religious liberty.
Sponsored by an organization called Stand Up for Religious Freedom, the rallies were held in 140 locations, including the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington.
That is the office that issued a regulation earlier this year requiring most private employers to provide co-pay-free contraceptive and sterilization coverage in health-care plans. The mandate provides only a narrow religious exemption, leading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations to protest it as an infringement on religious liberty.
Philadelphia and Boston
In cities closely related to the fight for independence in 1776, protesters like Philadelphia Catholic radio talk-show host Dom Giordano recalled that the rallies were taking place on the anniversary of Patrick Henry stating, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
About 2,000 people gathered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, waving American flags and holding signs saying things like “Obama persecutes the Church” and “The First Amendment Rules.”
Steven Bozza of the Respect Life Ministry of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, “The Catholic Church in the U.S. is not going to back down. The bishops are not going to back down. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is not going to back down.”
“In my heart I believe we’re going to prevail,” Bozza said. “This rally is just the beginning.”
Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council said, “I’m an American. I’m a Roman Catholic. And today I stand before you as a conscientious objector. I refuse to play the victim of a phony war on women.”
In Boston, it had been announced early this week that the rally was “canceled” because the proper permits had not been obtained. But organizers mobilized to hold the rally on Boston Common, in the area of the park that is directly across the street from the Massachusetts Statehouse.
Several hundred people gathered with many signs, including “HHS: HANDS OFF.” There were half a dozen speakers who stood on the steps and used a bullhorn to address the crowd, including Scot Landry, the Boston Archdiocese’s secretary for Catholic media. Landry noted that contraception is “ubiquitous and inexpensive.” Rather, he said, the issue is about the Obama administration putting free contraception before first freedoms.
Here is a link to the HHS Mandate Fact Sheet [PDF].
So, that about summarizes things on the rally to Stand Up for Religious Freedom.
Meanwhile, a Boston College priest who publicly endorsed Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services–the department pushing the mandate that violates our religious freedoms–is still speaking at a Boston parish on Monday evening on the topic of Catholics, Politics, and Conscience: the 2012 Election.
As we reported previously, Fr. Thomas Massaro was one of 26 Catholics who signed a statement endorsing the pro-abortion politician Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary in 2009. She had been admonished by more than one bishop to not receive Communion for her “30-year history of advocating and acting in support of legalized abortion.” CatholicVote.org is publicly calling for Fr. Massaro and his colleagues to either disown Sebelius or disown Catholicism.
We are aware that people have complained to Cardinal O’Malley about the talk, and apparently both the Cardinal and Msgr. Garrity, pastor at St. Catherine of Siena which is sponsoring the talk, are both comfortable having this speaker deliver an ambiguous message to faithful Catholics about what it means to vote consistent with Catholic beliefs and moral teachings. You can assume he will neither disown Sebelius or Catholicism on Monday evening. Most likely, the message will be that opposition to abortion is one of many moral teachings in the infamous “seamless garment” of Catholic social teaching, and Catholic voters should form their own consciences by considering the full range of issues, including immigration, war and peace, economic welfare, blah blah blah.