Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

Police Stop Prayers Outside White House

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Dozens of people have already been arrested over the weekend for kneeling and praying in front of the White House.

ActsFive29, a group of like-minded, pro-life defenders launched the D.C. prayer rally knowing their members could indeed be arrested, but asserting it’s worth it, because, “The future of religious freedom in America is at risk.”

The group claims Acts 5:29 – “But Peter and the Apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” – as their basis for protesting the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate requiring employer-provided health insurance cover birth control measures.

“Obamacare will force institutions, churches and individuals to purchase abortion-inducing drugs and pay for sterilization and abortion in direct opposition to their beliefs, conscience and historic teachings of the Church,” says the group. “With the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming Obamacare, the future of religious freedom in America is at risk and in grave danger of being entirely wiped out.”

On Saturday afternoon, 22 members of the group knelt on the sidewalk in prayer and were arrested by Capitol Police, with the prayer rally (and possible arrests) planned to continue through Oct. 2.

The group says that the only basis for their arrest is that the sidewalk in front of the White House is a “restricted zone” for free speech.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told WND, “We have stood up for life and religious freedom in hundreds of cities. Today we do so at the president’s house. I am delighted to be here.”

The group says that the president is “dictating to Christians how they should live their faith” and that they are taking a stand, while risking arrest for doing so.

Bryan Kemper, director of youth outreach at Priests for Life, told WND that he was arrested on Saturday afternoon for kneeling on the sidewalk near the White House while holding a sign that said, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom.”

“I am here today as a father of seven children who is willing to lose my freedom to protect my children’s future freedom,” he told WND. “I was arrested yesterday when I knelt and prayed holding a sign for religious freedom, and I will kneel and pray again today, risking arrest again.”

He told WND that this issue is vital for all American’s to understand.

“We must take this stand now, or we will have no freedom to do so tomorrow,” he said. “I will obey God rather than man.”

He finished, “The HHS mandate violates God’s law and forces us to sin, and I will not comply.”

Brandi Swindell, National Director of Generation Life, a pro-life group dedicated to mobilizing activists, students, artists, musicians and young professionals to end abortion and spread the message of sexual integrity, told WND that she had a “divine appointment” in Washington today.

“Three of us chose to attend church at St. John’s this morning,” Swindell said, “and at the last minute found out that Kathleen Sebelius, the architect of the HHS Mandate was holding an adult forum between services.”

Swindell told WND that she got the secretary’s attention, and in front of a packed auditorium asked her, “Why are you forcing the American people to pay for abortion-inducing drugs that harm women? It’s a severe violation of religious freedom.”

The secretary ignored the question and left the stage.

Video of the exchange, and the critical reaction of other church attendees, can be seen [at]

Swindell told WND that just four years ago she was arrested and deported from communist China for standing up for religious freedom there.

“I stood in Tiananmen Square holding a banner that said, ‘Jesus Christ is King’ and was arrested,” Swindell said. “I never imagined that just four years later I’d be standing in front of the White House risking the very same thing.”

She told WND that she intended to hold the same banner declaring “Jesus Christ is King” in front of the White House Sunday afternoon, and fully expected to be arrested for it.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, says of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally, being held across the street from the White House, “For the faith community, we can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious freedom.”

He continued, “As people of principle and faith, we must purpose in our hearts that we will never comply with an unjust or immoral government mandate [that] would require us to violate our conscience, the teachings of the Scriptures and the historic teachings of the church.”

“We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials,” he concluded, “that we would rather spend time in jail than to be forced into complying with a mandate that crushes religious freedom.”

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The Mandate is In Effect: Stand With Us!

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Date: August 1, 2012

Contact: Andre Kim

A Message from Fr. Frank Pavone

Dear Friends,

The unjust and unconstitutional HHS mandate, against which Priests for Life and 57 other plaintiffs have sued the federal government, takes effect today. We at Priests for Life do not qualify for the year that the government has offered certain groups to “adapt” to the mandate. And we are not “religious” enough for this Administration.

But regardless of all that, we do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it.

Therefore today, on behalf of our organization and on behalf of myself personally, I announce our conscientious objection to this mandate.

Priests for Life has the highest respect for civil government and advocates the observance of all just laws. But this policy is unjust, and today I reaffirm our intention to disobey it.

I issued the following memo this morning at 12:01am to all our employees, consultants and prospective employees:

August 1, 2012

Dear Priests for Life Staff and Consultants,

The HHS mandate, about which we have been educating people since January and against which we have launched a federal lawsuit, goes into effect for Priests for Life today.

Whether or not the government decides to eventually impose fines on us when our health insurance policy is renewed in a few months is not the issue. The issue is that as of today, as far as the government is concerned, we have to provide health insurance coverage for practices that are morally objectionable.

In order to avoid the slightest semblance of scandal, or compromise of our principles, and lest any employee should imagine that we would ever consent to provide coverage for actions that destroy human life, I want to make it clear to you today that we will disobey this mandate. Neither Priests for Life as an organization, nor any one of our administrative team or Board of Directors, nor I personally, consent to provide, pay for, advocate, counsel, refer, or in any way tolerate or cooperate with any process, plan, exchange of money or services, or any other activity that would enable a person to engage in the use of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization.

We reaffirm that our mission is precisely to eliminate abortion in every form, and we reaffirm our trust in you that you share that mission and are likewise offended by this mandate. We will therefore stand together in resisting it, and in our confidence that we will prevail, by persevering in prayer and action, in our lawsuit.

Thank you,
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director

Having officially communicated this memo to our staff, I likewise invite all our supporters across the country and around the world to stand with us, and let their voices be heard by joining our Citizens’ Amicus Brief and by doubling their commitment to help our many initiatives succeed, especially those related to fostering the political responsibility of citizens.

Today is also the filing deadline for the Administration to introduce its motion to dismiss our case against the HHS, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, as they have already indicated their intention to do. Our lead counsel in the case has advised us that he is confident our case has addressed the issues in such a way that we will prevail against this motion.

Fr. Frank Pavone

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.

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PFL Youth Outreach Director at center of First Amendment lawsuit

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Date: July 6, 2012

Contact: Leslie Palma

Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper is a plaintiff in a new First Amendment lawsuit filed against Sinclair Community College in Ohio and its campus police.

On June 8, Kemper, the founder of Stand True Ministry, was a speaker at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the college. The rally was one of 100 such rallies taking place across the country that day to protest the Obama administration’s mandate that all employers have to provide free contraception, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services for their workers.

Campus police would not allow demonstrators to hold their signs at the rally, continuing a tradition of First Amendment violations that, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), has been going on at the school for 22 years.

“Schools are meant for the free expression of ideas, but Sinclair has taken the stance that its students must check their free speech rights at the door,” said Peter Breen executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society, which filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of two Sinclair students and Kemper.

“It is imperative that we fight for our rights to not be taken away or it will be almost impossible to fight to get them back,” Kemper said. “I am fighting this injustice not just for me, but for my son Jaemison, who was there watching the rights of so many being trampled.

“Jaemison may only be 7 years old,” Kemper continued, “but he and his siblings will someday face a situation when their rights and liberties may be challenged. I want him to have the courage and the means to stand true when that day comes and to know that his father refused to cower in the face of adversity.”

Priests for Life organized the well-attended New York City Stand Up Rally, at which attendees, like those all over the country, were able to express themselves with signs and placards. Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said of the Ohio situation:

“Thank you, Sinclair Community College and police department. There are few better ways to motivate pro-life people than to tell them to shut up. I’m not sure if it’s our message or the First Amendment that you don’t fully understand, but we’re going to see to it that you learn more about both.”

To view the lawsuit, go to

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit Priests for Life.

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