Protests Against the HHS Mandate Around the U.S.: News Roundup

In the news this week: countrywide protests against the HHS mandate, the history of tension between the Vatican and U.S. clergy, the first black leader of the Southern Baptists, and other stories.

Hundreds gathered on Capitol Hill and at rallies across the nation on Friday (June 8) in a double-barreled attack on President Obama’s health care law and a mandate to require employers to provide insurance coverage of birth control.
 
Speakers such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and anti-abortion activist Lila Rose rallied conservatives in one of 160 coordinated noontime rallies across the country.
 
Bachmann, a former GOP presidential candidate, emphasized that the fight over the insurance mandate is not about birth control or women’s rights, but the freedom to practice religion without government involvement.   Washington Post
 
A conflict that has entangled the Vatican, American bishops and the largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns may seem to have erupted suddenly, but it actually has its roots in decades-old disputes over Roman Catholic teaching.
 
The headlines came in April, when the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concluded that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had strayed far from authentic doctrine and gave three American bishops the authority to overhaul the organization.
 
But the contretemps can be explained in the context of long-simmering differences that have also divided the broader church into opposing camps of theological liberals and conservatives — with many Catholics caught in between. Each side is acting consistently according to long-established priorities. Associated Press
 
NEW ORLEANS – Baptist pastor Fred Luter Jr. once preached the Gospel through an amplifier on street corners in this city's Lower 9th Ward.
 
Tuesday, he's set to become the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention— a group created more than a century ago to support slavery — at the group's annual meeting here.
 
The rise of Luter, 55, from street preacher to religious leader is more than a tale of personal fate. It's a historic moment in the denomination's 167-year history, a history tainted with racial segregation and human bondage, historians and convention leaders say. USA Today
 
A Massachusetts judge has found that the rights of an atheist couple and their children aren't being violated when the words "under God" are recited in the Pledge of Allegiance in Acton schools.
 
The Boston Globe reports that Middlesex Superior Court Judge Jane Haggerty also ruled there was no violation of state law or the school's anti-discrimination policy.
 
The judge ruled Friday that including "under God" in a voluntary patriotic exercise doesn't "convert the exercise into a prayer." She said the case presented a "familiar dilemma" of balancing conflicting interests in a pluralistic society. Masslive.com