Defending Religious Liberty
The head of an Ark-La-Tex university speaks out on Capitol Hill. The president of East Texas Baptist University joined other religious leader to combat the Health and Humans Services mandate, under the Affordable Care Act, which requires religious groups to provide insurance that will offer free contraceptives, including Plan B and Ella, also known as the "morning after" and "week after" pills. Religious leaders say that mandate is a violation of religious freedom.
"I hope that all people will stand up, people of faith and people of no faith, and say our constitution has got to be defended; the religious liberty that we know has got to be defended," said Dub Oliver, president of ETBU. "Baptist in America, by virtue of our history, are particularly sensitive to coercive government actions that infringe upon religious liberty."
Oliver was one of 10 religious leaders on a panel that addressed a Committee On Oversight and Government Reform on February 16th. It was entitled, "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience. Oliver says although the controversy has plagued Catholic groups, the issue affects all religious groups' rights.
"We provide preventative services," said Oliver. "In fact we provide most preventative services the law requires. We object to these abortion causing drugs. If ETBU is required by the federal government to provide these abortion causing drugs, what's next? Next year they'll say, 'Well, since you pay for abortion causing drugs you now have to pay for abortions for your employees.' What's next?"
Oliver says ETBU has a few options moving forward: the university can file suit against the federal government, it can drop its employee insurance coverage and face a fine, or accept the mandate
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