By Patrick B. McGuigan | CapitolBeatOK
OKLAHOMA CITY — Odds are, Catholic Archbishop Paul S. Coakley has never had so many non-Catholic Christians standing to cheer him before, during and after a speech.
All that and more characterized the Rally for Religious Freedom in downtown Oklahoma City, when three of Oklahoma’s best-known Christian preachers expressed solidarity with Coakley and America’s Catholic bishops in opposition to a controversial federal Health and Human Services mandate.
The edict would require religiously-affiliated institutions to provide abortafacients, sterilization and contraception coverage in employer-provided health insurance programs.
One of the ministers declared Coakley had taken on the role of “a Josiah” – referencing the young king of Israel in the Book of Kings, who called the nation of Judah back to faithful observance of Jewish traditions.
While Coakley was more modulated in his remarks than most speakers at the three-hour rally, his message was an unmistakable outline of opposition to the HHS mandate promulgated this year by the administration of President Barack Obama.
He described the origins of the rally in a decision by America’s Catholic bishops to call for a “fortnight for freedom” — a time of prayer, study and “Catechesis” for Catholics.