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Reflections on the West Roxbury freedom rally

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On Saturday afternoon Oct. 19, there were two events that attracted large crowds in West Roxbury. At the Corrib Pub, Senators Scott Brown and John McCain took questions on tough topics like the Benghazi terror attack and the looming cuts to the military budget.

Simultaneously, a crowd of nearly 200 locals welcomed some other visitors. This group gathered around the Holy Name Rotary for a prayer vigil and rally for religious freedom and to defend the vulnerable at the end of life.

Father George Carlson, pastor of Holy Name Parish, opened the rally with a prayer invoking the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and fill our hearts to be happy warriors for justice.

Next to the podium came Christina Giordano, a Suffolk University law student. She said, "As a woman it saddens me greatly that the Obama administration is willing to risk the great charitable work done by Catholic and Evangelical colleges, grade schools, orphanages, and social service agencies through the imposition of the HHS Mandate. The First Amendment was put first so that no law could be enacted which would undermine religious liberty (prohibiting the free exercise thereof). By forcing Christian institutions and businesses to provide abortion inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives under the guise of 'healthcare,' these institutions are being forced to violate their values to uphold the right to life from conception to natural death."

Sister Mary Vincent of the Little Sisters of the Poor spends her days begging. She's a spry old gal with a slight stoop in her walk, but with a sure click in her heels. Her order serves on six continents, where they use the alms they are given to help the elderly poor in their last days on earth. Sister Mary Vincent is a powerhouse of plain speaking. She said, "I'm an American woman and a religious sister. Our order has a great vocation. We welcome the poorest of the elderly into our home. We are a home, not a hospital. They are part of our lives. We try never to let an older resident die alone. As they approach the final hours of their journey home we are blessed to show Christ's love and tenderness."

"That," she said, "is true death with dignity."

Regla Gonzalez, a Jamaica Plain resident fired up the crowd with her Cuban American experience. She knows the evil an overreaching government can inflict on people. She shared her passion humbly with the crowd.

A taxi, a bus, and an early morning commuter train made sure that Marian Blawie, a pre-med student from Holy Cross got to West Roxbury on time. The future Crusader alumna said, "Neither the HHS Mandate nor Question 2 provides solid conscience protections for doctors like me. I dream of healing and helping people, not distributing abortion inducing drugs and death inducing suicide pills to babies and vulnerable patients who cannot speak. We all come into the world through a pregnancy. How can pregnancy be treated as a disease in need of 'preventative care' treatments?"

Lastly, Dr. Jane Driver a Brigham and Women's oncologist and Harvard educator talked about the many pitfalls of the so-called "Death with Dignity" ballot initiative. Dr. Driver said, "Massachusetts is in danger of becoming the Netherlands of the Northeast. How many times do we hear an elderly friend or relative say, 'I don't want to be a burden?' We must not blur the clear distinction between doctors as healers and this proposal to become 'facilitators of death.' Question 2 has far too many problems like faulty terminal diagnoses, no requirement to speak with trained psychiatrists or palliative care experts, and no requirement for family notification of the impending suicide." Dr. Driver urged the crowd to protect the elderly and our culture by voting no on Question 2.

More information about Question 2 and the HHS mandate can be found online at DoctorsAgainstSuicide.com, StopAssistedSuicide.org and StandUpforReligiousFreedom.com. I urge all residents to visit these websites and be informed on these critical issues. Please research how the candidates stand on these issues and vote accordingly. Remember the old chestnut, "Question 2 is bad for you!" It has never been truer.

Lou Murray is an estate and financial planner who lives in the Parkway section of Boston. He is a member of St. Theresa of Avila Parish in West Roxbury. The Oct. 19 rally in Boston was one of 150 simultaneous gatherings across the United States.

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