Catholic, evangelical Christian and Greek Orthodox speakers urged the crowd at Tollefson Plaza to unite and take action.
“I, like you, have been called to be a soldier in the battle for religious freedom,” Tacoma resident Kristine Mauss told the crowd at Tollefson Plaza. “We can’t just sit back.”
Many in the crowd carried signs that staked their ground: “Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate,” “Protect the First Amendment,” and “One Nation Under God.”
The rally was one of 140 held nationwide today by a coalition called Stand Up for Religious Freedom. Others in Washington took place in Seattle, Spokane and Walla Walla.
At the national level, the rallies were organized by Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
“This mandate is a challenge to the fabric, the core of our lives,” said Angela Connelly, a Tacoma mother of nine children and wife of lawyer Jack Connelly.
She said the issue centers around “the right to religion and to follow our conscience.”
The conflict centers around the Obama administration’s mandate that employee health plans include free contraceptive coverage. Religious hospitals and universities were initially included in the requirement. After conservatives objected, Obama said in February that religiously affiliated institutions could opt out, but insurers must pay for the coverage.
That didn’t solve the problem, according to Stand Up for Religious Freedom’s website, because the mandate still forces employers to provide health plans with free contraception and sterilizations.