Charlottesville Group Takes Stand Against Health Mandate
A Charlottesville group is rallying because it says a mandate in the Affordable Care Act, known as "Obamacare", is unconstitutional and tells people how to practice their religion. Stand Up for Religious Freedom held the rally at Jackson Park in Charlottesville to make the government listen and not violate their right to religious freedom.
Chris Gilbert is one of many people who are taking a stand for their First Amendment right to religious freedom in Jackson Park. They say the federal government is crossing the line by passing the Health and Human Services mandate.
It requires nearly all employers - including religious organizations such as Catholic hospitals - to provide health insurance for their employees. That covers prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and "abortion-inducing" drugs – medication the Catholic Church is against.
"It would be like the government going into a kosher shop and saying you have to provide pork," Gilbert said. "The government is essentially telling a religious group what they have to do."
Harry Koenig with Stand Up for Religious Freedom said, "If we provide for their coverage, we think we're giving approximate material aid for this act that we consider wrong - for us it's a matter of conscience."
Prayers, songs and words were shared by a group of about 60 people. Scott Leake, a representative for Rep. Robert Hurt, read a letter on the congressman's behalf in support of stopping the mandate. All participants - some Catholic, some not - hope the White House will listen and adhere to what they feel is their constitutional right.
"We want people to know that this is an issue and we're very serious about it," Koenig said.
In March, the Supreme Court began hearings on the legality of the Affordable Care Act. A ruling is expected sometime this month.
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