Ministries File Class Action Suit over HHS Mandate

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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.

That Obamacare mandate forces all employers to provide birth control coverage to employees, including drugs that may cause abortions.

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.

Their class-action lawsuit actually includes more than 100 ministries that participate in GuideStone's health benefits plan.

"The very purpose of the GuideStone plan is to provide ministry organizations with employee health benefits according to biblical principles," said O.S. Hawkins, GuideStone's President and CEO. "The government shouldn't prohibit us from continuing in that ministry."

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, like Christian colleges, missions organizations, and family ministries.
 
"The government's refusal to treat these ministries as 'religious employers' is senseless," Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a written statement.

"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," Rienzi said.

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