|Bishops to lead Topeka rally|
Topeka — The Kansas Catholic bishops are hoping for a huge turnout at a rally later this month to send an “unmistakable message of support of religious freedom” to lawmakers and the courts.
The “Rally for Religious Freedom” will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, on the south steps of the Capitol in Topeka.
“The bishops want to send a clear message that Catholics are not going to take the Obama administration’s unprecedented attack on religious liberty lying down,” he said.
The key issue is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate that would force Catholic institutions to provide health insurance coverage to employees for procedures the Church opposes, including abortion-inducing drugs, artificial contraceptives and sterilizations.
But other government, legislative and judicial actions also have hindered Catholic institutions’ missions and carved away at the constitutionally supported right of religious liberty.
“During the two weeks before the Fourth of July, Catholics — and people of all faiths — will be demonstrating across the country on this issue of religious freedom,” Schuttloffel said. “We hope to show that there is a broad consensus in this country that the government should not force people to do things that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Speaking at the rally will be Cathy Ruse, a lawyer who has become a national spokesperson on the religious liberty issue.
“I think she will do an outstanding job drawing upon her substantial experience working on constitutional issues in our nation’s capital in order to explain the nature of the attack on religious freedom,” Schuttloffel said. “She will help us understand the stakes — and what we all can do — to resist this radical redefining of the First Amendment.”
Ruse has a lengthy résumé, from working as legal director of the Family Research Council to being chief spokesperson on human life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Schuttloffel said the rally will be important not only in garnering publicity but in giving Catholics a way to become involved.
In addition to taking part in the rally, Schuttloffel urged Kansans to act on their own.
For more information, go to www.kscathconf.org/rally.