A number of Christian colleges have filed suit against the Obama administration for the contraception mandate that is included in the recently upheld health care bill, and have vowed to defy the requirement even if the courts do not rule in their favor.
The Affordable Health Care Act requires religious employers to assist workers with obtaining abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and even sterilization. These mandates create a conflict of conscience for Christians as they force them to engage in acts that are against their core beliefs.
One of the colleges that has filed suit is Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. The college, which is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), states that the Obama administration’s mandate is unconstitutional and violates a 1993 statute that bars laws from interfering with the free exercise of religion.
“People of faith shouldn’t be punished by the government for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations,” commented Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for ADF. “The Obama administration invented a fake ‘right’ to get ‘free’ abortion pills and sterilization and elevated it above real freedoms protected by the First Amendment. This calculated and intentional attempt to eradicate constitutional protections should terrify every freedom-loving American.”
“The Sixth Commandment says thou shall not murder,” Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard said. “The government is imposing their religion of murder on us and I think it’s time for the people of our country to wake up and stand together.”
“It doesn’t matter if someone believes in it or not,” added faculty member Mike Johnson. “If they have a sincerely held religious belief, under current law they’re forced to violate it. It really comes down to a matter of religious liberty and not so much distinctions among religions’ teachings.”
Another college that has filed suit is Geneva College, a liberal arts institution north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“That is really what has pushed us across the line,” stated President Ken Smith. “We must cover or provide under our health policies abortion-inducing drugs.”
“The First Amendment protects Americans from mandates that require us to act against our own convictions. We find the mandate to provide our faculty, staff, and students with insurance that provides pills to abort babies totally abhorrent and unacceptable,” he said. “The government shouldn’t be able to force anyone to buy or sell insurance that subsidizes morally objectionable treatments.”
“As the colonists, in what King George called ‘the Presbyterian Revolt,’ responded to their earthly king with chants of “No king but King Jesus,” so too the president of this Presbyterian college, Ken Smith of Geneva, has said, “At Geneva College, we have only one Lord, and he does not live in Washington, D.C.,” reports the publication Human Events.
Both colleges state that no matter the outcome of the court system, they still will not follow mandates that conflict with the law of God.
“If the government continues to say that we have to do this, we will not do it,” Aguillard told Fox News. “There’s going to be, in my opinion, a constitutional crisis. We’re not going to do it.”
“I guess President Obama will have to come down to Louisiana College with whatever means they want to stop us,” he added. “We are going to have, as we say in French, a tete-a-tete.”
The organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State is taking the opposite position in the matter, however.
“The very idea of a corporation having a conscience kind of flabbergasts me,” President Barry Lynn stated. “To think of them having some kind of conscience that trumps a woman’s conscience. It’s such a trivial intrusion into a claimed right that it really doesn’t count for much as a legal matter, and I think that’s where this is.”
“The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is not violated by a law that is not specifically targeted at religiously motivated conduct and that applies equally to conduct without regard to whether it is religiously motivated — a so-called neutral law of general applicability,” claimed the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Nonetheless, more Christian colleges and other institutions are filing legal challenges against the Obama administration in an effort to have the law overturned. Wheaton College is the latest entity to bring a lawsuit, and at least 3 other organizations have done the same.
“They can’t imprison all of us,” Aguillard declared. “They can’t fight all of us. We are greater than the Department of Justice.”