Father Joseph Looney, pastor of the Church of the Nativity Parish in Bethlehem, speaks during the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally Oct. 20 on the New Haven Green.
The gathering was the third in a series (March 23 and June 8) of national demonstrations that were the brainchild of Chicago native Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League. The rallies have been held simultaneously in as many as 140 cities across the country.
"We are all here because our religious freedoms today are under attack," said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, who led a line-up of speakers and described what he called the threat to freedom, the impact of citizen inactivity and what supporters need to do to fight for religious freedom.
The purpose is to reverse a mandate of the Obama administration’s federal health care law that requires employer health plans to include free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of moral or religious convictions.
The mandate, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would force religious employers such as Catholic universities and hospitals, as well as Catholic-owned businesses, to provide services that directly contradict Catholic teaching.