Advocates for Religious Freedom Hold Rally

Anna Ciuimmo

The Rally for Religious Freedom took place at the State Capitol building last Wednesday, where participants gathered to advocate for religious rights of citizens.

Present at this rally were Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, several guest speakers and members of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that advocates for those who fight against the impediment of religious freedoms.

Many of the speakers said they had recently experienced opposition for living according to their beliefs. The rally was held to respect and offer support for citizens, especially business owners, who face legal issues.

Rachel Suarez is a freshman studying radiologic technology, and although she did not speak at the event or suffer opposition because of choices regarding her faith, she attended the rally to support others who have dealt with religious discrimination.

“This rally was just to let the government know that we would like our religious freedom and that we shouldn’t be forced to pay for something that we don’t believe in,” Saurez said.

She went on to explain that many government policies are creating many problems for religious individuals and organizations. For example, the HHS mandate forces religious organizations such as Sisters for Life to provide contraceptives along with their care.

At the rally, Saurez said she got to listen to numerous religious business owners that are getting everything taken away from them because they want to abide by their faith.

“We aren’t forcing other religions what they don’t want to do, so we shouldn’t be forced to do what we don’t want to either,” Saurez said.

She also said that it was an encouraging experience; around 1,500-2,000 people attended the rally.

“It was just encouraging to see so many people attending to want to protect their freedoms. I think that will influence the government, hopefully.”

Savannah Nider, a sophomore studying occupational therapy, also believes that everyone should have a choice when it comes to religion.

“I think everybody should have their own freedom,” Nider said. “Everybody should be able to do what they want, unless it’s against the law.”

For Nider, it’s all about making individual choices.

“I feel like if somebody refuses to participate in something, that’s their choice,” Nider said.

Among others, the Rally for Religious Freedom hosted florist Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist sued for her refusal to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage, as well as Jeannie Mancini, president of the March for Life and advocate for life in the womb.