Religious Freedom on the Line – Local Catholics and Allies Rally on Friday, June 8th in St. Petersburg

Bay area Catholics and those in solidarity with them will rally Friday at a “STAND UP FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” rally Friday at lunch time (11:30-2 pm). The event will occur at the corner of 4th St. N and 22nd Ave. N. near Crescent Lake Park.  The Obama administration, through its appointed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has mandated that Catholics may not live a life that is consistent with their own moral conscience and must instead buy contraception and abortion-inducing pills  (continued below) .

solidarinoscpriest   Millions worked in “Solidarity” for freedom in Poland, inspired in part by Pope John Paul II.  Protestors will gather for the “Stand Up for Religous Freedom Rally in ST. Petersburg from 11:30-2pm on Friday, June 8th on the corner of 4th St. N. and 22nd Ave. N.  The Sun Beam Times has contacted “FAST” to see if they will ask their 3000 members to join this call for “Religous freedom”.  That would be a TRUE act of Social Justice as defined by the Catholic Church.

A woman stands up for Religous Freedom in March in St. Petersburg.

The Department of HHS has declared that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as “Obamacare”, mandates the sorts of benefits that any organization must provide to its employees. They have ignored the First amendment of the U.S. Constitution direction when is says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Congress has made a law that grants power to the Department of HHS to define health insurance benefits. Well they can (inappropriately*) delegate their parliamentary power to the Executive branch, they can NOT allow them to violate the Constitution.

The faithful and their allies have decided it is time to use other rights in the first amendment to fight this immoral overreach by the Federal government: the right to free speech and peaceable assembly. They have organized rallies all over the nation to “Stand up for Religious Freedom”.  St. Petersburg is no exception and local rally leader Michael Brennan is moving forward with a rally this Friday. More than 100 rallied in March under his leadership. “If Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, we must ensure that religious freedom will be protected in subsequent health care legislation” explained Michael Brennan. “But if Obamacare is not struck down, we’ll be sending the federal government a clear message that the faith-based institutions and private businesses affected by the HHS Mandate here in St. Petersburg/Tampa will not violate their consciences by complying with it.”

There are critics who complain that these activities are really about stopping Contraception.  However, that has been viewed largely as a political distraction by those who want to support the clearly unconstitutional act of violating religious freedom. At the last rally, an opponent of the effort was local activist and officer for the League of Women Voters Darden Rice. At that time, Ms. Rice, Florida Communications Director of Protect Your Care (an Obamacare defense group) said, “There is widespread public support for birth control and for the President’s announcement that ensures women have access to birth control with no costly co-pays, regardless of where they work.” Brennan emphasized that the Stand Up Rally has nothing to do with access to contraception.  Mr. Brennan offers: “There is no ‘war on contraception’ in our country. Contraception is already widely, cheaply available. What’s really under attack today is religious freedom.”  Mr. Brennan’s advises the Sun Beam Times that he has been busy rallying supporters outside local masses and emphasizes that this is not an event targeting any election race.  “This is not a political event and we are telling those coming not to bring campaign or political party signs and literature. This is about the issue of religious freedom.”

The rally is proceeding mainly along sidewalks where people will carry signs and distribute literature to passers-by. The Rally has no permit, but that has not been a requirement for the Occupy St. Petersburg protesters who routinely gather in large numbers with no city permit.  Mr. Brennan has issued guidelines to ensure that no city ordinance is violated and the last rally occurred with no difficulties and no police presence required.  The Sun Beam Times has contacted the political “interfaith” group “FAST” (Faith and Action for Strength Together) to see if they will alert their members to rally in Solidarity on behalf of religious liberty.  The Sun Beam Times will report on their response.   


Hayek’s Road to Serfdom on the dangers of delegating parliamentary authority to executive arms of government.