Wheaton College Joins Birth Control Mandate Suit

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More Christian institutions are suing the Obama administration over the mandate that will force them to provide contraceptive services, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilizations for employees.

Wheaton College, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has now joined the fight, filing a lawsuit in league with the Catholic University of America.

"We think this is an appropriate area for evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics to work together," Wheaton President Philip Ryken explained. "There are lots of things we disagree about, but one of the things we agree about is the fundamental importance of religious liberty."

"And we thought there was an opportunity in filing alongside a Catholic institution to help all Americans to see there's a fundamental issue at stake here that affects all of us...cuts across a lot of our religious differences," he said.

Ryken admitted that taking a stand against the federal government is a daunting move.

"We're reluctant filers of this lawsuit," he said. "We have no real interest in opposing the government."

"But, we do think we have a responsibility to raise this issue when we think the government is out of accord with fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution, which affects our ability as a Christian college to carry out our religious mission," he added.

Currently, only the religious rights of churches seem to be protected. But Ryken said everyone should be allowed to freely practice their faith.

"It's not just churches that have religious liberties. It's private individuals and it's associations of people who gather together for a common religious purpose, like Christian higher education," he said.

"We all have religious liberties. It's not just churches, and it's not just the freedom of worship. It's the freedom of religion," he continued.

Ryken appeared hopeful Wheaton's stance will pave the way for other Christian colleges to join in the lawsuit.

"To my knowledge, this is the largest number of lawsuits filed against the federal government on a religious liberty issue in the history of our country," he said. "And I have every expectation that additional evangelical institutions -- colleges, universities and other institutions -- will also be filing suits by the end of the summer."

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Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.