Saturday, June 9, 2012

Detroit Free Press: More than 1000 at Detroit's Religious Freedom Rally

Photo: Niraj Warikoo

I was disappointed to not be able to attend the Stand-Up Rally for Religious Freedom. There were about 160 of them happening at Noon all around the United States. If you watched most local news channels, including those here in Detroit yesterday, you never would have known this was happening. When I didn't see any coverage at the Noon news hour here in Detroit, I wondered if there were any news trucks. I was told there was one network there. When I watched their broadcast at 5 and 6 PM, there was no coverage of the rally, and no mention. I would imagine it played itself out that way in most cities. Fox News had a small blip or two on at one point during the day, but it was scarce. I don't know if other networks bothered.

I'll call it, "passive censorship." They - the TV news media - know something is happening, in large numbers, but they don't bother to cover it. The March for Life in January every year is the best example. It's gone from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. The crowd is mostly young. There are people of all faiths there and people of no faith (yes, atheists for life). You would never know it happens on any given year. I remember seeing all kinds of news coverage of a few dozen Occupy Wall Street protestors, even on national news. I suppose that only protestors who do outrageous things get wider coverage than those who go so far as to clean up after themselves.

Here in Detroit we have a religion correspondent at the Detroit Free Press who doesn't miss these things. His coverage starts before his story. Niraj Warikoo has a Twitter account and he doesn't hesitate to use any time there is a faith event here in Detroit. When I saw nothing on the news channels at Noon, I turned to Twitter and, like usual, there was Niraj tweeting away.

Here are some samples:

1) Quoting Teresa Tomeo

2) Quoting Bishop Byrnes who stepped in for Archbishop Vigneron whose father passed away.

3) He uploaded a few pics like the one at top; and, here and here

Today, his story was released at the Detroit Free Press.  Having followed Niraj for a few years now, one thing I really like is that he simply reports the news.
More than 1,000 protesters rallied outside the federal building in Detroit on Friday to oppose the Obama administration's contraception mandate, saying their religious freedom is under attack.

The rally, organized by Catholic leaders, was one of 13 in cities across Michigan and more than 140 others across the U.S.

"Christians ... are a majority in this country," Teresa Tomeo, a Catholic author from St. Clair Shores, told the crowd. "We don't want this mandate."

The protesters, many holding signs that read "Stop Obama's HHS Mandate," listened to a range of speakers, from professors to a Catholic bishop to Protestant pastors.

"We will not comply," Professor Mary Healy of Sacred Heart Major Seminary said as the crowd cheered.

Continue reading the rest of his coverage for more quotes: Masses protest in Detroit...

I know there were other rallies around southeast Michigan - including Ann Arbor and Livonia, so that was pretty good that 1000+ showed up in Detroit.

More Coverage

Feel free to drop links into my combox to photo galleries, videos, and text with anything pertaining to these rallies.  I'm aware that there were counter protestors at many of these.  In fact, I heard two accounts about counter protestors in Detroit.  There were just two people and one told me they held up three signs.

You can look through more tweets for links to pictures and quotes from other Stand-up Rallies from around the US using these hashtags (I think you can see them even if you don't have a twitter account):  #ReligiousFreedom and #StandUpRally and #StopHHS

EWTN was also putting up pictures from around the country on the EWTN Facebook Page (June 9, 2012 if you look for it through timeline later)

The National Catholic Register has coverage, as well.

One of the more memorable addresses I've read is that of Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. in San Francisco.  I'll start you out here and you can read the rest at the blog of Richard Chonak:

In every age Christians have been challenged to stand up for what they believe. I would like to share with you the story of a little-known Saint. His name is Gaspar del Bufalo. It was 1810. He was only 24 years old, and had been ordained a priest just a short time. But now he was under arrest. Napoleon had conquered Rome and had imprisoned the pope. His intention was to close the churches and to force all the priests to swear allegiance to him.

So there Gaspar stood in front of the prefect. The prefect was a kind old gentleman, who did everything to minimize the event, downplaying it and reducing everything to a mere formality. It was just a harmless bureaucratic exercise.

The important thing was that Gaspar be put at ease, that he should not realize the seriousness of the choice to which he was being called. After all, many priests had already acquiesced and signed the oath of allegiance.

But Gaspar was not listening to the prefect, he was thinking of the blood which Napoleon had already caused to be shed. He was thinking of the imprisonment of the Holy Father, and he was thinking of the violation of liberty and the suppression of independence for the church.

So his response to the prefect was clear and decisive:

I cannot, I must not, I will not!

Just 200 years later, It is a different country and it is a different government. This time it is an American President. He has taken it upon himself to determine what is and is not religious. He has taken it upon himself to determine how I should live my faith in this time and in this place. Should I acquiesce to his demands?

I cannot, I must not, I will not!

The world health organization classifies oral contraceptives as a class one carcinogen right up there with tobacco. And the government wants me to provide this free with healthcare.

I cannot, I must not, I will not!

Women who use oral contraceptives for four years prior to their first full-term pregnancy have a 52% increased risk of developing breast cancer. And the government calls this health care and wants me to provide this for free, well...

I cannot, I must not, I will not! Oral contraceptives do horrific damage to a woman's body, and should we call this health-care? Abortion destroys human life and is it reasonable or intelligent for us to call that healthcare?

I cannot, I must not, I will not!

Continue reading the rest of Fr. Keyes' address

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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