Hundreds rallied Friday outside the San Diego County Administration Building against what they call an assault on religious freedom. Protestors rallied against President Obama’s Health and Human Services Mandate which requires employers provide contraception in their health care plans.
“I'm here because of him because of Rafael” said Angela Santero pointing to her young son. “I definitely feel that I want him to be able to practice his faith to the full.”
Local religious leaders from various faiths spoke to the cheering crowd. The speakers included the new Catholic Bishop of San Diego Cirilo Flores, Skyline Church Pastor Jim Garlow, Kathy Marler with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, East Clairemont Baptist Church Pastor Chris Clark, and Hispanic radio show host Netz Gomez.
“I don't think we need to force religious institutions to do anything that is against their personal beliefs and values systems,” said Kathy Marler. “That is what separation of church and state is all about. It's not keeping religion out of the public square. It's keeping the government out of religion.”
Organizers said 140 similar rallies happened Friday across the country. Proponents of the mandate argue much of America is in favor of contraceptives and the mandate allows an exception for some religious institutions. Protestors argue the exception is too narrow and it’s dangerous for the federal government to decide what constitutes a religious institution.
“We have to stand up for what's right, not what's politically correct and if we don't stand we're losing our rights as a country,” said Dolores Womack who attended the rally. “We are losing our rights as citizens, as Christians, as Americans and I care deeply about these things.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesissued Fox 5 a statement saying:
“Our policy accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women. The policy ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge.”
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