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October 02, 2013

It’s Time to Draw the Line

As we reach the end of a phenomenal summer with full-house programs and exciting life change in our students, we’re turning our attention to a pressing religious freedom issue: the ongoing fight surrounding the contraceptive mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), popularly known as Obamacare.

I fully expected President Obama’s administration to be pro-abortion, but never in my life did I imagine that it would implement rules requiring ministries like Summit to become abortion providers. But this is what has happened. The PPACA includes a very broad “contraceptive mandate” that requires employers to offer healthcare coverage for many drugs that go far beyond contraception and actually cause chemical abortion. And this provision — which the Obama administration calls a “compromise” — is written in such a way that surgical abortion and even partial-birth abortion could someday become required coverage as well.

Obviously, many businesses, churches, and other ministries see this provision as morally objectionable and also a blatant attack on religious freedom in the service of leftist political goals. In the ensuing legal battles, churches have won exemption from the provision while businesses have not (the administration thinks businesses cannot have a religious conscience, though this is being hotly contested in the courts).

Unfortunately, religious groups have fallen through the cracks. Organizations like Summit are called “accommodated ministries,” a category that includes non-church ministries and schools. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has decided that organizations like Summit do not have to provide abortifacient drugs but they are required to hire a third party administrator (TPA) to provide them on their behalf. In other words, we would be forced to contract with a third party to do something on our behalf against which we have the strongest moral objection to.

Summit Ministries has always opposed abortion-on-demand. David Noebel’s hard-hitting booklet Slaughter of the Innocent (published in 1973) was one of the first pro-life resources available, and Summit has always taken a strong stand, even in the 1970s when it was common for Christians to be neutral or even favorable toward abortion.1

So, President Obama, our conscience and long-standing convictions compel us to oppose as strongly as we can what we believe is an attack on religious freedom, free speech, and ultimately the lives of those most vulnerable among us. Mr. President, we implore you to change your mind and change the law. These attacks on ministries like Summit are not worth the long-term damage they will do.

The threats to religious liberty for all Americans are very real. Please pray that justice will be done and that those opposing the HHS mandate will be able to make a strong case on behalf of religious freedom in this tumultuous time.

Notes

  1. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Press went so far as to celebrate the decision for having “advanced the cause of religious liberty, human equality and justice.” Today, the Southern Baptist Convention is strongly pro-life, as is the larger evangelical Christian community. David Noebel and Summit were a large part of the awakening. For more information see http://spectator.org/archives/2013/01/31/protestants-and-abortion.

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