Rally Urges Action
An enthusiastic crowd of about 300 turned out for the hastily organized Rally for Religious Freedom Saturday in Mason, giving Bishop Joseph Binzer and Citizens for Community Values President Phil Burress several standing ovations.
The brisk program included short speeches from Bishop Binzer and Mr. Burress, as well as from one of the organizers. The crowd, which included many families with small children, overflowed the portable seating at Royalmont Academy’s auditorium. Many people stood in the aisles or along the walls. Organizers estimated that about 40% of the attendees were not associated with the school.
“We love the Lord and we love our country,” Bishop Binzer said, the first of many statements greeted with applause. He read from Cardinal Dolan’s third letter regarding the HHS Rule that requires nearly all employers to provide insurance that covers birth control pills and devices, “morning after” abortifacients, and sterilization for women. These things, he reminded the crowd, are not part of “women’s healthcare.”
Mr. Burress told the crowd that the national leaders of Focus on the Family, a nondenominational Christian advocacy group, supported their cause. “I am not Catholic,” he said, “but the Administration made a bid mistake when they ‘kicked the sleeping giant’ — the Catholic Church.
“When I read that letter from your Archbishop, I said ‘YES!’” he said, pumping his fist.
He explained that Focus on the Family, Citizens for Community Values, and other national groups have been working on a religious freedom amendment for more than three years. During those years, he said, the groups had been monitoring instances of religious freedom being restricted in other Western countries, including Canada, and the beginning of similar attempts here. But because few people knew about them, he said, “ the time was not ready for us to introduce the amendment. People just did not realize this was going on.”
Royalmont Principal Tony Ferrara said that children ask their parents how people could have supported slavery, and that this is a moment that future generations will look on the same way. Americans will either preserve their freedom to be citizens and practice their religion, or lose it. “My father came here from Italy,” he said. “I will not dishonor the memory of my father, the work he did to assimilate into American values, by giving in to Kathleen Sebelius and her ideas of what it means to assimilate into American values.”
Carl Brown, President of the Royalmont Academy school board and the rally’s main organizer, called on participants to do more than send broadcast emails and make phone calls, but to attend rallies, pray at 40 Days for Life and other anti-abortion demonstrations, attend Holy Hours,, register people to vote, and do whatever they can to be active in the public square. Jesus, he said, should be the model for our efforts, which should begin in prayer, focus on Christ, and be conducted in charity.
“Brothers and sisters, the time is now,” he said. “The threat is real. We have to go in person, and it has to be with heart.”
A video of the rally will be posted on the Royalmont Academy web site later this week. Royalmont will host a second rally on March 23, part of a nationwide series of rallies for religious freedom. To sign up for emails about the upcoming rally, to help plan it, or to volunteer to work or publicize it, see the Rally for Religious Freedom web site.
See an album of photos from the rally at our Facebook page.