Today Rev Pat Mahoney, Priests for Life Priests and pro-lifers gathered to be a voice in front of the White House to oppose the Obama contraception mandate. I will have more on this story later, but here are some of the first pics of the arrests. –
Priests for Life reports:
Father Denis Wilde, OSA, associate director of Priests for Life, was among six people arrested today during a peaceful protest outside the White House.
Father Wilde was representing Priests for Life at an organized protest of the HHS contraception mandate that violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. Priests for Life yesterday filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration that seeks to permanently block the implementation of the mandate because it imposes clear violations of conscience upon any American citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.
Father Wilde and the other protesters, including the Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, were cited for “Failure to obey a lawful order” as they knelt in prayer in front of the White House. They each paid a $100 fine and were released from custody.
“Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,” Father Wilde said. “We knew that was the risk when we gathered today, and we will do it again regardless of the risk. What people of faith – of every faith – need to do now is stand with us.”
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said the New York-based organization remains committed to battling the HHS mandate because it forces Americans to become morally entangled in practices they find objectionable.
“As an organization of Catholic clergy, as a corporation that employs 60 people of various religious backgrounds, and as a ministry whose very purpose is to protect and promote the pro-life teaching about the specific practices at issue in the HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned to fight against this intrusion of conscience,” Father Pavone said.
Pro-life groups including the Christian Defense Coalition, Operation Rescue, Rock for Life, Students for Life of America, and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust were all slated to join the prayer vigil.
“The faith community can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious liberty. We want to make it clear to President Obama that Christians would rather spend time in a jail cell than be coerced into complying with an mandate that violates our religious beliefs!” said Operation Rescue in a statement Tuesday.
Obama’s mandate that all employers cover all birth control, including abortifacients like ella, and sterilizations, has united Christians from numerous denominations in an unprecedented show of opposition. Despite an “accommodation” from the Obama administration last Friday ostensibly designed to appease religious-based opposition, the protests have only increased in vehemence, with the United States Conference of Catholic bishops denouncing the “accommodation” as insufficient.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has said that he would “go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do.” Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), has also said Christians would go to jail if the mandate was not changed.
Mahoney said the arrests were “in response to President Obama mandating religious institutions coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception in their health plans.”
He said the mandate “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governances of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to the rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.”
“It is also important to send a clear message to the Obama Administration that the faith community will spend time in jail rather than be coerced into complying with an immoral and unjust mandate,” he added.
Phase 2 Protests will be March 23rd Nationwide – http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/Here is how you can get involved in this fight – http://www.priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/index.aspx
Thank you Live Action for the photos.
In case you are not familiar with the latest on this situation – Update: President Obama’s FALSE accommodation on the birth control mandate – it is actually worse.