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Four Christian universities sue federal government

Four Oklahoma Christian universities are disputing the provision of abortion contraceptives covered by the Affordable Care Act.

Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Wesleyan and Mid-American Christian have filed a lawsuit against the federal government for the violation of multiple rights.

The universities do not qualify for the religious exemptions from the regulations. According to healthcare.gov, exemptions protect only, “Churches, their integrated auxiliaries and conventions or associations, and the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”

If the universities do not adhere to the new law, they will be subject to harsh fines. The universities claim these fines will put them at a disadvantage in their efforts to recruit students and employees.

The term “religious employer” is defined as one whose purpose is the impartation of religious values through multiple facets of the company.

Each university has a mandate to students and employees that requires recognizing the sanctity of life, and knowingly, hire faculty, staff and administration who profess and demonstrate a strong commitment to the Christian faith. The universities also currently provide some form of healthcare to both students and faculty, but exclude contraception such as Plan B, ella and IUDs in its employee plan.

The lawsuit states that Mid-American Christian University believes the use of drugs, devices, procedures and related counseling to terminate a pregnancy at any point after conception is morally impermissible in virtually all circumstances.

“We are skeptical of more intrusion of federal government into our private, public and professional lives. We do not know what it [Affordable Care Act] will look like with so many unanswered questions. We are not supportive of the efforts to put us all in one box,” SNU President Loren Gresham said.

Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan, wrote in a blog March 8 of this year: “I’m tired of my faith, my values, my virtues and my religion being lampooned and subjugated to mandates and restrictions that are contrary to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. These rights should not and must not be compromised by a government that has no right to tell anyone what their religion can or cannot be and what products they must or must not buy.”

Piper wrote again on Sept. 24, “It is nothing short of astonishing that the federal government would ever presume to intrude into our bedrooms and tell any United States citizen what contraceptives they are required to buy, especially if such purchases violate our religious beliefs.”

The universities claim the defendants have violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; the Free Exercise; Establishment and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The defendants are appointed officials of the United States government and the U.S. executive branch agencies responsible for issuing and enforcing the mandate.

The four schools are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building legal ministry advocating the right of people to freely live out their faith. Alliance Defending Freedom has 13 different law suits in 11 different states. All are suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, specifically in regard to abortion drugs. The abortion pill mandate is currently losing 32 to 5 in courts.

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