Christian Bible publisher sues over HHS mandate
Tyndale House employees outside their headquarters in Carol Stream, Ill. Credit: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House employees outside their headquarters in Carol Stream, Ill. Credit: Tyndale House Publishers.
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A Christian Bible publisher has become the latest of nearly 100 plaintiffs to file a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate over religious liberty violations.

“This action arises because the federal government has deemed devout publishers of the Bible to be insufficiently 'religious' to enjoy religious freedom in America,” said a federal lawsuit that was filed on Oct. 2.

The suit was filed on behalf of Tyndale House Publishers, a Christian publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials whose owners object to offering insurance coverage of early abortion drugs, which is required under the federal contraception mandate.

While the mandate includes a religious exemption, it applies only to non-profit organizations that exist primarily to inculcate religious values and employ and serve mainly members of their own faith.  

For-profit businesses such as Tyndale are categorically deemed non-religious and fail to qualify for the religious exemption, even if they are created and run according to religious principles.

The lawsuit argued that the government’s “refusal to accommodate the conscience of Tyndale is highly selective.”

Leaders of the administration “cannot possibly claim they have a compelling interest to violate Tyndale's beliefs when they have voluntarily chosen to omit nearly two-thirds of the nation” for secular reasons, it said.

It explained how the company, which has 260 full-time employees, was started in 1962 by a Christian couple committed to running a business according to biblical principles.

These Christian beliefs are reflected in the company’s statement of purpose, core values and corporate goals, the lawsuit said, observing that “(e)very book Tyndale publishes has to have ministry value, otherwise it will not publish it.”

In addition, the executive team and board of directors pray together regularly and have done so for decades. The company holds a voluntary weekly chapel service, which is attended by more than half of employees, and donates 10 percent of its pre-tax profits to charity each year. It also holds monthly “build days” with Habitat for Humanity and sponsors annual mission projects for employees.

Furthermore, the lawsuit said, Tyndale “pays its employees well above minimum wage and provides them with excellent benefits,” including a strong health plan, bonus program and profit sharing plan.  

The company is self-insured and has never covered abortions or abortion-inducing products, in keeping with its owners’ religious beliefs. It is exempt from the Illinois state requirement to cover early abortion drugs.

But when the company’s next insurance plan year begins in October 2012, it is required to cover the objectionable items or face crippling fines.

“The Mandate adopts a particular theological view of what is acceptable moral behavior with respect to provision of abortifacient coverage and imposes that view upon all adherents of religion who must either conform their consciences or suffer penalty,” the lawsuit argued.

The company is now asking for an injunction to block the enforcement of the mandate against it, arguing that its constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion is being violated.

“Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” said Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Tyndale.

“To say that a Bible publisher is not religious is patently absurd,” said Bowman in a statement announcing the lawsuit. He argued that the case “is a prime example of how ridiculous and arbitrary the Obama administration’s mandate is.”

Under the mandate, religious employers must “choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith by complying, or resist and be punished,” he explained.

“Americans today clearly agree with America’s founders: the federal government’s bureaucrats are not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out,” he said.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20