OWENSBORO, KY (6/11/12) – An estimated 400+ concerned citizens flocked to Moreland Park in Owensboro on Friday, June 8 for the second Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally of the year. The event is a response to elements of the Affordable Care Act HHS mandate that will require church-affiliated employers to provide contraceptive services and medications to employees if it is upheld by the US Supreme Court.
Contrary to language in the bill, which states that abortion-inducing drugs will not be covered by the mandate, many of the speakers focused on the issue of abortion. Rally organizers claim that even birth control pills are a form of abortifacient and, as such, providing them would be contrary to church employers’ moral codes.
Organizers have made it clear that the rally is about more than the contraception issue. They see it as a constitutional issue. Event literature states, “This isn’t really about contraception—it’s about the First Amendment . . . the HHS Mandate doesn’t stop with free contraceptives: it also requires employer health plans to provide free sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.”
Notable guests at the rally included Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro; Rachel Nave McCubbin, Deputy State Director for US Senator Rand Paul; Crystal Shreker, Silent No More; Dr. James Buckmaster, Henderson KY, Family Practice; KY Senator Joe Bowen; Marian Turley, Vice President of Majesty Academy and candidate for District 14 State House Representative; Board Member Richard Nelson, Commonwealth Policy Center; and Dr. Greg Faulls, Bellevue Baptist Church.
Other guests included Bandi Tingler, singing “Star Spangled Banner” to open the rally; Students from Maximilian Montessori Academy, who led the Pledge of Allegiance; Apollo graduate Bridget Payne, who sang “God Bless the USA”; Stephanie Carrico, who sang “America the Beautiful; Ray Filkerson, singing “Statue of Liberty”; and Suzanne Story, who closed the program with “God Bless America.”
In his opening remarks, Bishop Medley commented, “I observe here that there are many churches and congregations and, perhaps, some people that do not have a church or congregation but believe that religious freedom is one of the bedrocks of our freedom . . . I know that, as we gather here today, there are like groups gathering all over the nation.”
Rachel McCubbin said, “Let there be no mistake, Rand Paul is with you 100% on the subject of religious liberty.” She warned against complacency when it comes to Americans taking those freedoms for granted and against the “myriad of mandates and regulations” that she claims are a part of the ACA.
“With these regulations, our government was no longer protecting religious liberty,” she said. “In fact, our government is now asking people of faith to make a choice between obeying the law of our land or obeying the teachings of their church, and this is absolutely unacceptable.”
Representative Bowen spoke next, saying, “The fact of the matter is, religious liberty is not just the freedom to worship . . . religious liberty is that right that we have to hold fast to those values and convictions that we know are just and true without the threat of compromise or without the threat of government overreach.” Bowen encouraged citizens of both Kentucky and the nation to push back and not accept the mandate saying that it is “the right thing to do.”
Marion Turley began her remarks by recalling watching a television show “lamenting the death of Dr. [George] Tiller, the late-term abortionist, who had been murdered, and they were just going on and on extoling his virtues and what a great loss to society and to women that his death was. And a pro-choice leader who was there talking to the commentator said, ‘you know there is still violence going on against abortion clinics and abortionists. It’s so very, very terrible what they’re doing.’”
Adding the caveat that she was not advocating violence towards anyone, she continued her account by saying the pro-choice advocate cited a case of arson against an abortion clinic in New Orleans. “’There was an abortion clinic open and practicing—patients, doctors, and staff right there—and someone set in on fire.’ She said it was a ‘blatant disregard for human life,’” The deliberate irony drew a smattering of laughter from the crowd. She continued, “and then she said, ‘well fortunately, no one was injured.’ And I thought, ‘You know, when they go back to work, there will be someone injured—fatally.’ Those babies that are there, they can’t run out like those people did, screaming for their life. Those babies have no way of escape when those instruments of death come at them. No one hears them cry when the abortionist comes at them.”
Turley went on to mention the next guest on the show, Democracy Now, from which she quoted. The guest, according to Turley, was a late-term abortionist who had “taken up the mantra for Dr. Tiller.” She said that he claimed late-term abortions were a “needed service” for women and that they accounted for 150,000 abortions each year—about 3% of all abortions. She warned of the dangers of the “morning-after pill” and the life-threatening abnormalities it can cause in unborn children, and she concluded her speech by passionately quoting Job 1:21 and saying that “life and death is in the hands of God, never in the hands of an abortionist.”
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