by Roy Hayhurst
DALLAS — Attorneys for GuideStone Financial Resources March 23 made oral arguments in the agency’s litigation against the US Department of Health and Human Services and its so-called contraceptive mandate at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to make our case before the High Court and pray for wisdom for the justices and favor in the outcome,” said GuideStone President OS Hawkins, who attended the hearing. “We are thankful for the prayers of so many in our Southern Baptist and broader evangelical family; this is the time to continue praying for these men and women who will render the verdict.”
The mandate would require certain ministries served by GuideStone to provide abortion-causing drugs or devices as part of their healthcare plan, or face crippling penalties. Churches and integrated auxiliaries of churches are exempt from the mandate.
“The justices were very engaged and questioned the government closely,” said Mark Rienzi, counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents GuideStone. “But once again, the government had no clear explanation for why it needs to use religious ministries to deliver services that are already available on its own exchanges.”
One in three Americans does not have a plan that is subject to the mandate that the government is fighting to force on these ministries. Even the US military — the nation’s largest employer — is not required to follow the mandate in its family insurance program.
Most observers expect the Supreme Court to decide the case by the end of June.