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More Than 100 Rally For Religious Freedom

A Havre de Grace woman organized the Rally for Religious Freedom that took place in Bel Air Friday afternoon.

With three days and an abundance of passion, Paula Hoppel of Havre de Grace made Bel Air part of .

"I am amazed. I had no idea what to expect, but I was thinking we'd get at least 50 people but I think we tripled that," Hoppel said.

Hoppel said she was passionate about standing up against the that requires employers, including religious institutions, to provide contraceptives to employees through their health care plans.

The Department of Health and Human Services stated that the new rule "Ensures that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range" of all "FDA-approved forms of contraception."

Hoppel learned the nearest rally location to Harford County, out of 129 planned for the same time across the nation, was Baltimore. She said time constraints limited how far she could go on Friday, so she decided to organize a rally a a little closer to home in Bel Air.

Hoppel and more than 100 others gathered on the steps of the Friday to express opposition to the law.

"As a young woman I don't think this is representative of my needs or beliefs," Amelia Watkins, 22, of Elkton, said at the rally Friday.

Watkins told Patch she feels the law is disrespectful to her as a Christian and as a young woman who has no need for contraception. She said the mandate does not represent her and other women of all ages who feel the same way.

Were you at the rally? What are your thoughts on the law? Please share respectfully in the comments section below.

Casey March 25, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Well said!
Phil Dirt March 25, 2012 at 03:48 AM
The one person who resorts to name-calling calls someone "bitter and lashing-out". Nice. Stay classy, Monica.
Phil Dirt March 25, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Have you ever noticed how different apples are from oranges? How does restoring a body's function equal blocking a body's function?
Phil Dirt March 25, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Do you honestly think that if the employer does not directly pay for it and the employee does not directly pay for it, then the insurance company provides it for free? Really? Do you really think that moving around where the cost comes from on paper takes care of some peoples' moral objections to this?
Phil Dirt March 25, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Riiiiight. Premiums will go down, as they have so many times in the past. Remember when the insurance companies... uh, no, that didn't happen. Maybe when they... hmmm, no, they went up then, too. Never mind.
Phil Dirt March 25, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Jesus would probably still love you even though you mock those who follow his teachings.
Karl Schuub March 25, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Christine...guess that means you don't have anything otherwise productive to add. Usually when a response is nothing other than personal it means the respondent can't argue the point. This has nothing to do with my maker...the idea that everyone has a responsibility to themselves and thier fellow citizens to make good decisions isn't exactly heinous - in fact I would argue just the opposite particularly when we have pooled money that comes largely from the backs of those that make good decisions. Forgiveness, charity and generousity matter, but we're not required as a culture to go bankrupt to ensure people that make all these bad lifestyle choices get to eat up our dollars with no consequence - that's your sin hook, line and sinker. People can pay for thier own birth control - it's not that expensive. A 15 trillion dollar current debt doesn't spell well for anybody's future.
Tom Fitzpatrick March 25, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I don't agree. No one is forcing you to buy contraceptives. The requirement is that health insurance providers make the option available to people who want it, which is about 95% of women. You can opt out.
Tom Fitzpatrick March 25, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I agree. I couldn't imagine that the Archidiocise of Baltimore should have to comply with this requirement. But I CAN imagine St Joseph's Hospital, which is not a church, being required to comply, especially as a significant portion of its staff, and many of its surgical staff is not Catholic. Why should they be penalized for someone else's religion. By the same token, why would an institution like that limit its opportunities to recruit the best qualified people by enforcing such a restriction?
Christine March 26, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Karl, arguing a point with you no matter how valid it may be would be futile. You know that... Out of curiosity, at your work do you have to participate in the plan your employer offers or could you chose another plan or no health insurance at all. I'm not being sarcastic this time... just wondering.
Kirsten Dize March 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM
I must chime in and say that this is one of the cleanest debates I've seen! Thank you for discussing the issues.
Jae March 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM
It saddens me to read so many comments that have strayed from the main purpose of the rally. Our purpose is to bring attention to the first amendment of the Constitution regarding "Freedom of Religion." The Obama administration is trampling on that right. It is that simple.
Brandon March 26, 2012 at 01:10 PM
What does "freedom of religion" mean to you? and where are the boundaries of "religion? Is it boundryless? We seem to be limiting "government" by the Constitution shouldn't there be "some" limits on religion. What about people who do not believe in "your religion" What is this become a country run by religion instead of voters. "Religion" here is not limited to "Christianity". Other religions exist in this country, and even though I am Christian I do not want Christians having the only say. What if Islam gets a hold of a large number of people in this country. I see the possibility of a religious based civil war on the horizon. Your "freedom of religion" to me means you can establish a church and go there to talk about your religion. If you want to gain more people to your religion invite them there. If they like it they will stay if they don't they will never show up or the will leave. This is what "freedom of religion" means.
Andy Eisner March 26, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Well put Karl and I do agree. It all comes down to personal responsibility and taking responsibility.
Andy Eisner March 26, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Brandon, "freedom of religion" to me means the right to practice my faith without government interference. I agree with you in regards to civil unrest and uprising over the horizon. One thing is for sure, these sure are troubled times in America.. Never have I been witness to so many protests over the past few years; war, religion, gas, Tea Party..and the list goes on......Hats off to the Hoppel family for getting involved and doing the right thing!
Brandon March 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I see Government, Religious Institutions AND Corporations as entities that interfere with my right to practice living my life. The fact is we have been making "government" the bad guy for a while now does not elevate Religion and it certainly doesn’t elevate Corporations. In the end we are a country that needs to find a way to balance the power or Individuals, Corporate Organizations, Religious Organizations and governments. Don't we live in a Democratic Republic? The argument that there is an orchestrated effort to diminish the right to practice religion in this country is an attempt by religious organizations, most expressly the one with a pope, to gain a greater share of power in our political system. They do not want to be part of the democratic process. They want to tell us how we should live.
Jae March 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM
We are "one nation under God." We are endowed by our "Creator with certain unalienable rights." God has blessed us abundantly. Faithful Christians believe that we are on this Earth to love and serve Him and we practice our religion based on His Word. We expect to follow the tenants of our religion peaceably without compromising our principles for anyone, including the president of the United States. Why? Because we are protected under the U.S. Constitution. Many of our early settlers immigrated to the "New World" in search of religious freedom in the 17th century. When our government was formed in 1789, it was deemed important to include Freedom of Religion in the Bill of Rights. It is a guarantee of the first amendment. If people do not agree, then let them try to change the amendment. There is a process for doing this. Until then, religious institutions have protection under the tenants of our Constitution.
Brandon March 26, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Religion is protected in as much as it is allowed to exist, and people are granted the right to assemble [for whatever reason], and this also means they are allowed to assemble to practice their religion. My reading of this text does not mean people who have the right to practice their religion may interfere with the rights or other people. The Bill of Rights stipulates that the government shall establish no religion, i.e. no particular religion shall be or become a religion sanctioned by the government. Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Atheists or whatever other religion comes along may think this is a Christian Nation, or an Islamic Nation or a Mormon Nation, or an Atheist Nation but it is none of those things individually. It is all those things simultaneously. This is a multi-religious country whether we like it or not. The phrase "One nation under God" is from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Christian Socialist [please note the adjective - 'socialist' ] Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) in 1892 [way after the establishment of the United States] and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The Pledge has been modified four times since its composition, with the most recent change adding the words "under God" in 1954. [a documented reference]. We should KNOW the facts before we try to alter history.
Christine March 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM
If Google serves me right the words 'under God' were not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, thus undermining some people's rights of freedom FROM religion. Many of the early settlers were considered extremists in their countries and continued to exile people they did not agree with them once they got here. Freedom of or from religion and separation of church and state go hand in hand. I was brought up in the Catholic faith, but I have no problem granting free birth control to people who want it.
Jae March 26, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Thank you for the history lesson, Brandon. I taught early American history for over thirty years. Interestingly enough, during my time in the classroom, there were two instances of Jehovah Witness children who would not recite the "Pledge of Allegiance." They stood quietly and politely with their hands at their sides while the rest of the children recited "one nation under God." Their religious liberty was respected as per the first amendment.
Jae March 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Christine, you must be a very generous person.. Feel free to write a big check to "Planned Parenthood" to provide contraception for "people who want it." They will appreciate it. I will write my check to the Catholic Church and charities of my choice. As I said, God created us with free will.
Christine March 26, 2012 at 10:57 PM
How do you think those children felt, Jae.... being singled out as non-believers? We are lucky to live in a country where we can support Planned Parenthood, the Catholic Church, neither one or both. It's not all black and white, Jae. What version of early American history did you teach in your over thirty years to the heathen children you encountered?
Tom Fitzpatrick March 27, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Purchasing an insurance policy is not the same thing as purchasing contraceptives. The Republicans have latched onto this as a way to gin up evangelical voters. They didn't object to this provision when they were in negotiation over health care reform, and I can guarantee it that they will forget about it the day after the election. That's the way they've always played evangelicals.
Webster Wills April 01, 2012 at 04:37 PM
It seems the main enemies of my scientific pantheism are the main stream religions, who feel they are somehow at war with me. It seems a very low flight of spirituality to infer the 'god' in the pledge of allegiance and on our money refer only to your own beliefs.
Pam April 24, 2012 at 05:39 PM
It seems to me that if a person goes to work for a religious institutions or one of it's business entities, they should know the organizations stand on things like birth control, abortion, etc. If one accepts a position within such an organization, I'd think he/she were doing so with full knowledge of the health insurance limitations, just as an employee of an organization that conducts radom drug tests does so with the understanding that they, at some point, will have to comply.
Brandon April 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Drug testing is an attempt to find out if the potential employee is or might breaking the law. As far as I know contraception is not illegal...yet. This is a false corollary.
franking June 09, 2012 at 01:52 AM
The federal govt. isn't mandating that private carriers cover Viagra at 100%, or at all. Employers are free to buy (or self insure) policies that don't cover it. And it should be noted that unlike BC, it corrects a medical condition. Priorities are pretty messed up when this sounds reasonable, but a woman will still have out of pocket expenses for her cancer treatment or high blood pressure. But I'm not too surprised. To the libertine, that's all women are good for.
Mary Piccirilli June 14, 2012 at 04:01 PM
If we are concerned about women's health, why not choose that which is natural as opposed to a synthetic chemical solution that is a number one carcinogen such as arsenic and asbestos found by the World Health Organization. Instead the government wants to ban large sodas. I am against giving women cancer. Read the warnings.
Amazed June 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I find myself falling somewhere in the middle on this one… if a woman has an actual legitimate medical need to be taking birth control then it should be covered by her health insurance as would any other maintenance drug. After all, a valued employee of a religious employer could develop such a condition. If, however, the objective is to enjoy a worry-free good time I’m inclined to suggest you and your partner pay for it yourselves. We always had to.
Leslie Schildgen June 14, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The government mandate will be overturned by the Supreme Court. No worries

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