A California pastor is speaking up against a move by the state to force churches to fund abortions and he says he will gladly go to jail before complying with the abortion mandate.
As LifeNews.com has previously reported, last year, in a direct assault on people of faith in California, the California Department of Managed Health Care reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical abortions immediately. Even churches are not exempt from funding abortions.
But churches in California are refusing to comply with the law. Instead, they’re working with the pro-life legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to file suit against the state. And one church leader is willing to defy the state.
According to reports, on Sunday morning Senior Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, a nondenomination church in southern California, spoke up against the mandate and has encouraged his congregation to uphold religious values and fundamental liberties in the public square.
“I felt violated; I felt forced,” Hibbs said in response to the abortion mandate. “I love America and I love American history, and I have a lot of invested interest in defending the unborn. I see the Constitution under attack, and I see my religious freedom under attack.”
In an interview with Live Action, Hibbs said the DMHC’s decision is a flagrant violation of the right of churches and pastors to freely exercise their freedom of conscience. Hibbs and his congregation have joined six other churches across the state in a legal challenge opposing the coercion.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
Hibbs said he, in concert with pastors named in the legal challenge, will do whatever it takes to send this message to the state of California:
“We will take this to the point of being jailed, if necessary, being arrested, if necessary – whatever it takes. I cannot violate my biblical worldview,” Hibbs said. “Once I have to do that, I no longer live in the United States our founding fathers gave me.”
“This abortion issue for a Christian is not a political issue – it’s a biblical issue,” Hibbs added. “God is the engineer of life – he’s the giver of life. I cannot think of a human being more defenseless than an unborn baby.”
“We have been suffering under a rogue government,” Hibbs said. “I think Californians are waking up and churches are starting to wake up. I’m a pastor and I have faith in God, and I know my Bible. He always moves with a small group of people – he always moves with a remnant.”
Last month, ADF filed the lawsuit, Foothill Church v. Rouillard, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch.
Last year, ADF and Life Legal Defense Foundation filed formal complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against DMHC regarding California’s mandate and its violation of federal conscience law. Those came on the heels of a complaint filed directly with DMHC, which responded by affirming its decision to force all plans to cover all abortions without any explanation as to how that decision squares with the Constitution and contrasting federal law.
“Because Obamacare requires health insurance coverage, and the California mandate requires abortion coverage in any health plan, these churches are truly left with no way to opt out of paying for abortions,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jeremiah Galus. “What’s absurd, though, is that the same government that rightfully does not require California churches to pay for contraceptive coverage requires them to pay for elective abortion coverage. Californians should not be forced to choose between following their deepest convictions and submitting to unlawful and unnecessary government mandates.”
“Elective abortions are not part of ‘basic health care,’” Galus continued. “They have no business being forced into the medical coverage provided by churches that do not wish to support terminating lives due to very real, sincere, and well-known faith convictions. We hope the court will require California to follow the Constitution and respect these churches’ fundamental freedoms.”
AD told LifeNews that the concern of many pro-life Californians about being compelled by the government to pay for elective abortions has only been enhanced recently by the knowledge that some of those aborted children may have had their body parts sold for profit. Planned Parenthood has been caught in a series of videos selling aborted babies and their body parts.