Religious freedom, Pro-Life values clash

As I was driving down State Street on Friday afternoon on my way to pay a pending parking ticket, I was distracted to the point of reckless driving by something on the side of the road.

A crowd of boys and what looked to be parents lined the curb with signs regarding something about religious freedom. After paying my dues for an overdue meter, I decided to see what it was all about before jumping to conclusions. This is where my worst fears came true.

At first I was excited to see residents of Erie rallying for religious freedom; however, I was right in being wary about their intentions for this. So I decided to ask a woman who was holding a sign what the whole commotion was all about. She turned around and showed me the sign. It should be noted that she did not explain to me why she was there or explain the mandate they were rallying against. I noticed on the sign that it said they were
Pro-Life supporters who were promoting freedom of religion of some sort.

I said to the woman, “Oh, you’re for religious freedom, but you’re also Pro-Life?”

The woman responded, “Yeah.”

I thanked her and she turned back around.

It wasn’t until I went home and looked up the “HHS Mandate” that was on a few of the group’s signs, that I figured out that they were rallying against President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, regarding health care and including contraceptives and sterilization.

It is safe to say that their signs were extremely misleading. And certainly a lack of knowledge by those who were doing the chanting and marching.

On my part, I should have asked multiple people involved why they were there and such, but I was too put off by the group of Cathedral Prep boys who were giving each other high fives and yelling rally cries that I couldn’t understand.

Also, it is such a controversial and serious issue since GOP candidate from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum has brought his Bible-thumping thoughts to the table.

Nothing makes me more upset than to see men involved in Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debates.
This situation reminds me of a story that one my friends experienced back home when the Occupy Movement was raging. He saw a man in front of City Hall in Buffalo holding a sign that read, “Remember Scott Olsen.” My friend asked the man who this Scott Olsen was.

To which the man cleverly replied, “I don’t know…Mary-Kate and Ashley’s dad?”

Had the man been up to date on current events and actually cared about the movement that he claimed to be involved in, he would have known that Scott Olsen is a 24-year-old Iraqi War Vet who suffered a fractured skull due to police action in an Occupy Oakland protest. Olsen became the poster boy for police brutality throughout the Occupy protests.

Clearly the man just wanted to be involved because it was the hip thing for young people to do at the time.
I am not saying that everyone involved was as ill-informed as the man and woman I mentioned. Simply put, freedom of speech is our right. Exercising it without proper knowledge defeats the purpose.

Know your stuff before you exercise your First Amendment rights. That’s what the Internet is for.