Should the federal government be allowed to force a non-profit religious ministry, such as a Christian retirement community or college, to take actions that violate their deep, sincerely-held religious beliefs about the most important issues of life and death? That’s the issue of a new lawsuit filed by Liberty Institute.
This week, Liberty Institute filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of multiple retirement communities and Christian colleges from across the country, challenging the Obama Administration over the “religious accommodation” to the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate for unlawfully burdening their religious beliefs.
The plaintiffs include:
The mandate only grants exemption for a narrowly defined group of religious employers—churches, church denominations, and church auxiliaries—of which these retirement communities and Christian colleges and many other religious ministries and non-profits do not qualify.
VIOLATE YOUR FAITH . . . OR RISK PUNISHMENT
“Our government should never force any religious ministry to violate the very faith that motivates their ministry,” said Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute’s General Counsel. “These ministries were founded to care for, and protect, human life and train Christian leaders for lives of service. Americans oppose laws and regulations that force people of faith to abandon the beliefs that motivate their service to God.”
In the so-called “accommodation” that the HHS (Health and Human Services Department) Abortion Pill Mandate does include, there are several problems affecting religious liberty rights:
But the multi-generational ministries Liberty Institute is representing disagree—along with many other plaintiffs seeking judicial relief from the federal government’s mandate.
“ACCOMMODATION” OR ABANDONMENT OF CHURCH TEACHINGS?
In their complaint, the ministries and colleges Liberty Institute represents assert that the “accommodation” still requires them to cooperate in and facilitate the provision of a service that violates their religious beliefs—through providing abortion-inducing drugs and devices to the employees of their ministries—and forces them to abandon the beliefs of the Christian faith.
While the Federal government has provided exemptions for thousands of businesses, unions, and even churches, Christian ministries who are motivated by their faith to preserve the quality of life for seniors and commission students to lives of service are being forced by the federal government to violate their religious convictions. Rather than accept the bureaucratic demands of the government, these religious nonprofits have chosen to invoke their constitutional right to religious liberty and challenge the unjust demands upon their Christian ministry.
Mateer added, “The ministries Liberty Institute represents are hopeful that the court will enable them to continue serving according to the faith that has defined the Christian church for over two millennia—the same faith upon which these ministries were founded.”
BUILDING BLOCKS AND HOPE FOR THE CHALLENGE
Although the recent Hobby Lobby ruling left cases relating to religious non-profits and the Obama Administration’s attempted “accommodation” unresolved, Mateer points out that Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion does provide the building blocks for religious ministries and Christian colleges that are challenging the accommodation.
“Judge Alito’s majority opinion gives us such good language that the same day that Hobby Lobby was decided,” Mateer says, “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided another religious liberty case, involving a Catholic television network. In that case, the Eleventh Circuit found that this so-called ‘religious accommodation’ violates federal law. This was a great decision for religious ministries and bodes well for future challenges to the accommodation.
“But until the Supreme Court says that this religious accommodation violates federal law, then we are going to be in litigation representing these Christian retirement communities, Christian colleges, and our other ministerial clients for the next several months.”
STAND WITH US TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS AND NON-PROFITS
Please pray as we move forward. Your prayer support is vital as we work to defend religious rights and work to preserve religious liberty in America.
And please donate now as we continue to represent and defend non-profits that are challenging the HHS Abortion Pill Mandate’s “religious accommodation” and the violation of their religious beliefs. With a more than 90% win rate, we are confident that Liberty Institute’s top-tier volunteer attorneys will prevail.
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.