A prominent Christian college won a major legal victory against the Obamacare HHS mandate last week.
The Christian Post reports a district court judge granted Wheaton College in Illinois relief from the mandate on Thursday, ending a five-year legal battle.
Like many other religious employers, Wheaton objected to the mandate that employers cover all forms of contraception, including types that may cause abortions, in their employee health plans.
“The government is not above the law — that’s why we have civil rights laws. Wheaton should never have had to go to court to protect its rights in the first place. This order ensures we won’t have to come back,” said Diana Verm, Wheaton alumna and legal counsel at Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the college.
In the ruling, the judge said forcing Wheaton to comply with the Obamacare mandate violates federal civil rights laws. The order permanently forbids the government from forcing the mandate on the college.
College president Philip Ryken said they praise God for the victory.
“We are grateful to God that the court recognized Wheaton’s religious identity and protected our ability to affirm the sanctity of human life,” Ryken said. “The government should never have tried to force us to provide drugs and services against our faith, and we are pleased by the resolution of our case.”
Becket explained more about the ruling in a news release:
The contraceptive mandate went to the Supreme Court five times, and each time the Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting religious groups. Yesterday’s order follows a new HHS rule that admits the federal government violated the law and provides temporary protection to religious objectors. However, the new rule was halted in late December by judges in California and Pennsylvania. The California and Pennsylvania orders have been appealed. Meanwhile, the court’s order will permanently protect Wheaton from any current or future version of the mandate.
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Wheaton won temporary relief in 2014 from the U.S. Supreme Court, but the latest ruling makes it permanent. Others that have sought relief from the courts include the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby and Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the University of Notre Dame.
Wheaton College is a well-known Christian academic institution. Its motto is “For Christ and His Kingdom.” Its students, faculty and staff commit to a Community Covenant that affirms “the God-given worth of human beings, from conception to death.”