Currently in its second year, the fortnight is a two-week period of prayer, education and action devoted to the protection of religious liberty in the United States and around the world.
The fortnight began on June 21, the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, two martyrs who accepted death rather than violating their consciences. It ends on July 4, Independence Day.
The two-week religious liberty campaign was established in response to the growing number of threats to religious freedom in the U.S. Among the most prominent of these threats is the HHS mandate that requires employers to facilitate health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions. The mandate will take effect for many objecting religious employers beginning in August.
Other contemporary religious freedom concerns include a lack of conscience protections for health care workers, state laws that may punish Christian acts of charity towards undocumented immigrants and a redefinition of marriage forcing Catholics to violate their consciences in the realms of adoption, foster care and humanitarian services.
People at the rally said that they are worried about the implications of these laws and policies.
"I think we're entering into a very distressing period in our history," said attendee Troy Freedman, "where right under people's noses, little by little, incrementally, your freedoms are stripped away."