Baptist Louisiana College Vs. Sebelius over HHS mandate

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online interviews Joe Aguillard, president of Louisiana College, a Baptist college. A few highlights follow.

Lopez asked Aguillard why and when Louisiana College sued the government: 

We knew it was time to stand up and resist the moment we realized that the Obama administration meant to usurp our God-given religious freedoms and our time-honored Baptist heritage .

His reasoning? 

Washington politicians and bureaucrats cannot force Americans to surrender their freedom. Louisiana College has been given a choice that is not really a choice at all — to give up our belief that every child’s life deserves to be protected or to face punishments that could very well force us to close our doors. With that kind of threat so close on the horizon, we needed to act immediately to make sure the government’s attack on freedom is stopped in its tracks — not only for Louisiana College, but for every American.

Lopez reminded Aguillard that President Obama talked about his compromise with religious organizations during a campaign stop.  Aguillard’s reply: 

Any repeated claim that the government has compromised is recycled nonsense. The HHS mandate will force us to cover abortion pills in our health plans at no cost to employees. The facts are as simple as that. The only compromise the administration has made is with the truth.

Lopez asked him a typical question: why is it your business if an employee uses an abortion-inducing drug? His answer:

 

It’s none of the government’s business what Louisiana College offers in our health plans. It is also not the government’s business to impose its religious practice of condoning murder in exchange for our religious practice of protecting innocent lives. Our choice to exclude abortion pills from our coverage doesn’t prevent anyone from making the choice to use those drugs. Arguing that a refusal to pay for abortion drugs is the same as blocking access to them is like saying that I stopped you from going to the movies because I didn’t buy you a ticket. It’s absurd. However, forcing a Christian college to pay for or facilitate life-ending drugs is a gross violation of freedoms protected by the First Amendment.

Asked about the “war on women” rhetoric, he answered:

 

That rhetoric coming from pro-abortion groups is absurd. This is a stand for life and for our religious freedom to not be forced to participate in murder. As Christians, we believe first of all that all life is sacred and that abortion is murder. Almighty God has not given the right to murder (to take an innocent life) to any government. Further, we honor every individual woman on our campus in accordance with their status as God’s image bearers. Unlike our opposition, we don’t reduce women to nothing more than past, present, and future abortion customers.

 

Read the entire interview–it is superb.

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