Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Philip Ryken on Wheaton’s Contraception Mandate Lawsuit: 'A Last Resort'

Q & A: Philip Ryken on Wheaton’s Contraception Mandate Lawsuit: 'A Last Resort' | Christianity Today: The Wheaton College Board of Trustees has been concerned about the Health and Human Services mandate from the very time that it was first delivered to us, back in September. The Wheaton College board has been keeping abreast of developments throughout the year. I have written on several occasions both to the secretary of Health and Human Services and to the President expressing our concerns on issues of religious liberty as it relates to the mandate.

. . . Wheaton College stands to face punitive fines already on January 1, 2013, and I am welcoming incoming freshmen in two weeks. It’s already an issue for us in terms of our health insurance and what we provide for this coming academic year. Although we wanted to wait for the Supreme Court decision out of respect for the legal system, we do not believe that we can wait any longer.

. . . [T]he issue for us is abortion-inducing drugs. . . . But more broadly, because of our Christian convictions on that issue, we believe there’s a very important religious liberty issue at stake in all of this.

. . . We’re clear on our Protestant identity and there are many areas of theological disagreement that we have with Roman Catholic colleges and universities. This filing is not a way of suggesting that those differences have in any way been erased. But here’s an issue where we have strong agreement, and that is the value of religious freedom for all people everywhere. We also believe that we have a stake in the success of Catholic institutions winning their religious freedom arguments. Even if [contraception] is not a universal point of conviction for Protestants the way that it is for Roman Catholics, we believe that Catholic institutions should have the freedom to carry out their mission without government coercion. That struggle for liberty is a struggle for our own liberty and, we would argue, a struggle for the liberty of all Americans.

. . . the mandate does not apply to organizations that have fewer than 50 employees, so many smaller Christian ministries will not be affected by this. . . . But I think by the time all is said and done there will be non-educational institutions from the evangelical community that also will be filing suit on this issue if they have not done so already.
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