By Junno Arocho
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, SEPT. 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A grassroots movement started by several Catholic women has formed in New Orleans in response to what the women say is an infringement on their religious freedom.
The protest answers the call by U.S. Catholic bishops who have encouraged the lay faithful to speak up about the government's health insurance mandate.
The Health and Human Services (HHS) federal mandate in question would require employers of religious institutions to pay for insurance that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization procedures to employees.
The group, also known as America Code Blue, planned a mass letter campaign with letters of protest sent in blue envelopes at the same time to Congress.
Sally Struggers, one of the organizers of America Code Blue, explained that if "everyone mails their letters around the same time … it will have a huge impact."
"Emails can easily be ignored and no one really sees it," she said. "Hard copy colored envelopes will get the attention of postal workers, office workers and hopefully the media."
Initially planned to target mailing the letters well prior to the presidential elections, Struggers told ZENIT that due to the overwhelming response, the time has been extended to the elections. She also said that the organization has received the full support of Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond of New Orleans, who asked the organization to send information to every pastor in New Orleans.
"Archbishop Aymond in New Orleans gave [America Code Blue] his endorsement and we had a high percentage of participation from the 105 parishes in our archdiocese," Struggers said to ZENIT. "To date, we have mailed 25,000 letters in blue envelopes. We project that we will have mailed between 40-50,000 letters by Nov. 6 from New Orleans area alone."
Struggers said that many other states have joined in participating in the mailing campaign and urged all those who oppose the mandate to join. "We have nothing to lose with trying, we have so much to lose if we do nothing!" she exclaimed.
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On the NET:
America Code Blue: www.americacodeblue.com