Today, the Supreme Court agreed to merge and hear all seven cases before the bench that are related to the Affordable Care Act and its “accommodation” for providing the abortifacient coverage for employees. Nuns and Christian colleges are among those who will receive their day in court to contend for their inherent religious freedom.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) explains that even though previous cases have given victory to employers, those cases have been for family-run businesses. The cases the high court addressed today are related to non-profit organizations. This is significant because private religious schools and churches all fall under the non-profit banner. Instead of allowing an automatic exemption for religious freedom, as the United States Constitution affords all citizens, the Obama Administration has, instead, granted an “accommodation” to these employers. ADF reports:
Although the administration argues that executing and submitting a so-called “accommodation” form insulates religious nonprofits from providing abortifacients, ADF attorneys explain that is not the case.
The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide health plans that create access to abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties. Geneva College in Pennsylvania and the four universities in Oklahoma – Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Mid-America Christian University – specifically object to facilitating access to abortifacients.
The idea that a private Christian institution where people have a choice to work should be forced to throw its religious freedoms at the university door is one that the founding fathers would have given their lives to prevent; instead, the Obama administration would prefer babies give their lives in lieu of religious liberty. These colleges say no more. ADF adds:
The form directly involves the Christian colleges in providing abortifacients in multiple ways by, for example, (1) altering their health plans to allow for the provision of such drugs or devices, (2) requiring them to notify or identify to the government who their insurers or third-party administrators are so that they can provide the drugs or devices on the colleges’ behalf, (3) officially authorizing their TPA as a plan and claims administrator solely for the purpose of providing the items, and (4) requiring them to identify and contract with a TPA that is willing to provide the drugs and devices to which they religiously object.
As the reply brief filed last month in the SNU case explained, “the government cannot answer one simple yet vital question: If it is true that religious nonprofits are totally removed from providing abortifacient contraceptives, why force them to participate in the accommodation scheme…? The answer is that the so-called accommodation does not isolate the Universities from the provision of abortifacients at all.”
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, issued a statement today in response to hearing the high court was taking the cases:
It is sad that we have had to spend so much of the last several years fighting for the most basic of religious liberty protections, but the Supreme Court has the opportunity to defend the consciences of millions of Americans in what is sure to be a crucial case in the preservation of religious liberty. A government that can violate the consciences of some can easily attempt to violate the conscience of anyone. My prayer is that the Supreme Court will intervene in this administration’s cavalier disregard for soul freedom that forces a decision between obedience to God and compliance with a regulatory state.
In addition to the Baptist schools, much publicity has centered around Little Sisters of the Poor, the nuns who had to sue to avoid providing contraception and abortifacients at no-cost. Images of Obama bullying nuns flooding interne memes.
Now both the nuns and the Christian universities will get their day before the high court, and based on what the court has already ruled in similar cases, many are hopeful the days of being forced to violate deeply-held religious beliefs for the sake of killing babies may be on its way out.