Meet the latest litigants in the fight against the HHS mandate on contraception and sterilization. Biola University’s entry into the fight is notable for a few reasons. First, this is not a Catholic institution; its doctrine is specifically evangelical (as is Grace College’s), including an explicit statement of belief in the Rapture. Its influence as a non-denominational center of Christian thought is significant. President Barry Corey’s statement announcing the legal action shows near-unanimity with Catholic organizations and solidarity among Evangelicals on the actual stakes involved in the HHS mandate, for Christians as well as for the nation at large (via Frank Weathers at Patheos):
Biola University today joined a federal lawsuit to challenge the Obama administration’s unconstitutional mandate that faith-based employers provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
Filed by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys on behalf of Biola and Grace College and Seminary in Indiana, the lawsuit is the latest to challenge the controversial mandate established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Affordable Care Act.
“The Obama administration’s mandate forces us to act against our own doctrinal statement, which upholds the sanctity of human life,” said Biola University President Barry H. Corey. “It unjustly intrudes on our religious liberty as protected under the U.S. Constitution and makes a mockery of our attempts to live our lives according to our faith convictions, time-honored and long protected.”
A few more points, more personal to me. Biola is in La Mirada, California — just a couple of miles from the hospital in which I was born. I lived within a couple of miles of the school as a very young child (until I was seven), and my grandparents lived just down the road. My former intern, Amy Ritter, recently graduated from Biola University. My mentor and very good friend Hugh Hewitt regularly interacts with Biola.
Biola will make an excellent ally against the HHS contraception mandate, which is every bit as offensive as Corey states, if not more. It makes the fight less about any supposed animus toward Barack Obama by the Catholic bishops and more about the insult to religious liberty that it is. Hopefully, we’ll see more religious organizations from across the ecumenical spectrum joining this fight.