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Faith in Action: The College of Saint Mary Magdalen Participates in HHS Protest

On Friday, March 23rd, an estimated 200 people gathered outside the U.S. District Court in Concord, NH to protest the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate imposed by President Barack Obama's healthcare plan.  Dr. George Harne, President of the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, NH joined other community leaders in addressing the crowd.

“We face challenges that have not been seen in this country for over 100 years,” Harne stated as he began his address, “It has become clear, since January 2012 when the HHS Mandate was unveiled, that we, as a nation are in a struggle for our very soul.”

On the second anniversary of the “Obama-care” legislation, the predominately Catholic crowd stood in protest with Harne against the HHS mandate which forces faith-based organizations regardless of moral objection to provide contraception, sterilizations, and abortion inducing drugs to their employees.

Students from the College of St. Mary Magdalen joined President Harne in peacefully protesting the HHS Mandate.  Ava Voissem, President of the Pro-Life Club at Magdalen, members of the College's Confraternity of Saint Joseph, and other students participated in the rally.

Voissem stated, “We had recently reviewed in my Humanities class how to address abuses to the Constitution.  It was fitting that we should be protesting the HHS mandate which violates our First Amendment rights.”

Opponents of the mandate emphasize that this legislation would force Catholic and other faith-based institutions to provide services in direct contradiction to their religious beliefs.  Opponents are also arguing that the legislation is unconstitutional.

“What was once the crown jewel of our Bill of Rights, the First Amendment, has been reinterpreted in a way that would have been unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers,” Harne stressed as he spoke to those rallied in front of the U.S. District Court.

Harne concluded his address by stating, “If this administration has its way, the practice of religion will be curtailed beyond anything known in this nation’s history… But let us not fear those who would seek to strip from us the rights that neither man nor government can take from us… Let us be strong and unwavering in our resolve to defend our freedom."

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen: The College of Saint Mary Magdalen remains one of only 20 colleges in the U.S. to be named to the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College ( The College offers a classical liberal arts education—through its Great Books Program—that is rooted in Catholic social teaching and is loyal to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.