By The Bakersfield Californian
Many Americans gathered Friday at 160 locations across the country to peacefully protest the federal government's coercive trampling on religious liberty through the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate. Thanks to Robb Pugh, Bakersfield had its own Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the downtown Liberty Bell, where more than 200 people stood in peaceful support. Representatives from county government, the Alliance Defense Fund, Silent No More, and a local medical facility gave heartfelt speeches.
Soon, the HHS mandate will take effect, forcing all nonexempt employers to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization, regardless of their religious or moral beliefs. Organizations that do not comply will be forced to pay hefty fines and could possibly close doors. This certainly doesn't sound like America, where the Constitution affords religious freedom as a non-negotiable right.
It is no surprise that more than 50 organizations nationwide have filed legal complaints over the mandate. If we do not stand up now, the time will come where another administration could do the same for another issue and treat religious organizations again as a tool for the exercise of government power.