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Obama Administration ‘Overreached’ With HHS Mandate, Says University Board Member

Peter Souza

Kelly Conroy - published on 12/03/13

William McGurn, a board member at Ave Maria University, recently commented on the Obama administration's "overreaching" HHS Mandate.

The HHS mandate draws an “exemption so narrow that Jesus Christ himself wouldn’t qualify,” according to William McGurn, a board member at Ave Maria University, in a recent commentary for The New York Post.

McGurn said that it has always been clear that some religious nonprofits would protest the mandate because it would force them to violate their beliefs and provide employee health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.

Ave Maria University and Belmont Abbey College, which are both recommended in The Newman Guide, are currently suing the Obama Administration over the HHS mandate.

What hasn’t always been so clear, according to McGurn, is that for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby, which is run by a Christian family, would be suing the government as well. Catholic Education Daily recently reported that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two combined arguments challenging the HHS mandate.

For McGurn, the question to be decided is: “Does a business owner forfeit his faith at the price of doing business?”  His commentary shares that fully half of the lawsuits filed against the HHS mandate come from for-profit companies.

One of the key voters on the issue will likely be Chief Justice John Roberts. McGurn notes how Roberts has voted differently on two similar issues in the past. He found the individual HHS mandate constitutional, but he argued that churches should have the right to choose their own ministers in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Supreme Court decision.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, although not absolute, is supposed to prevent laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion, and requires “government’s interests to be compelling and the means chosen the least restrictive,” McGurn wrote in the Post.

“In other words, once again the Obama administration has overreached,” stated McGurn.

Originally published by The Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education Daily on 2 December 2013.

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