A group of pro-life advocates were arrested today outside the White House as they protested the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place requiring religious groups and employers to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.
“Jeff White, Jayne and Joanna White, Rev. Pat Mahoney and several other pro-life leaders and advocates were just arrested for kneeling in prayer in front of the White House,” pro-life youth leader Bryan Kemper indicated. “The group was there as a pro-life witness to President Obama that Christians will not comply with the HHS mandate, which is unconstitutional and blatantly pro-abortion.”
“The faith community can never be silent or indifferent when it comes to matters of justice, human rights and religious liberty,” he said. “We want to make it clear to President Obama and all public officials that we would rather spend time in a dark prison cell than be coerced into complying with an immoral and unjust government mandate.”
“We will be peaceful. We will be humble. We will be prayerful. But, we will stand,” he added.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said about the planned arrests at the White House, “The Obama Administration has attacked ideals, principles, and protections for which Americans have fought and died for. Therefore, the reaction is not only in the press, in the courts, and in the Congress. It is, should be, and will be in the streets. Civil disobedience must be a part of the response.”
UPDATE: Father Denis Wilde, associate director of Priests for Life, was among six people arrested today. Priests for Life yesterday filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration that seeks to permanently block the implementation of the mandate because it imposes clear violations of conscience upon any American citizens who morally object to abortion and contraception.
Father Wilde and the other protesters, including the Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, were cited for “Failure to obey a lawful order” as they knelt in prayer in front of the White House. They each paid a $100 fine and were released from custody.
“Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,” Father Wilde said. “We knew that was the risk when we gathered today, and we will do it again regardless of the risk. What people of faith — of every faith — need to do now is stand with us.”
Mahoney said the arrests were “in response to President Obama mandating religious institutions coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception in their health plans.”
He said the mandate “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governances of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to the rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.” [related]
“It is also important to send a clear message to the Obama Administration that the faith community will spend time in jail rather than be coerced into complying with an immoral and unjust mandate,” he added.
The arrests came after Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, made national news for saying, “I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do.”
Arrest pictures courtesy Bryan Kemper: