Ministries File Class Action Suit Over HHS Mandate
The Southern Baptist Convention's GuideStone health plan and two other non-profit religious groups are suing the Obama administration over its contraception coverage mandate, which forces all employers to provide birth control coverage to employees, including drugs that may cause abortions, CBN News reports. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is suing the Obama administration on behalf of GuideStone, the Oklahoma-based Reaching Souls International and Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. The class action lawsuit actually includes more than 100 ministries that participate in GuideStone's health benefits plan. The three organizations argue the contraception mandate is "an assault on biblical convictions and an attack on religious liberty." The Obama administration has said churches and a narrowly defined category of religious organizations are exempt, but the administration is still threatening devastating penalties to many other ministry organizations, such as Christian colleges, missions organizations and family ministries. "The government's refusal to treat these ministries as 'religious employers' is senseless," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "These people spend their lives teaching and preaching their religious faith -- if they do not qualify as 'religious employers,' the government needs to get a new definition."