October 22, 2012 Print

Evangelicals, Catholics File Two More Lawsuits Against Obama Administration

by Bethany Monk

On Friday, two groups filed separate lawsuits against the Obama administration’s mandate requiring most employers — regardless of their respective religious beliefs — to offer contraceptives and potential abortion-inducing drugs under their employee insurance plans.

Paul and Henry Griesedieck, who are evangelical Christians, filed their lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. As of Friday, 37 lawsuits challenging the mandate have now been filed.

Francis Manion, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing the Griesediecks, calls the mandate an “unprecedented” violation of religious liberties.

“Our clients simply want to run their business in a way that doesn’t force them to violate their religious beliefs,” he said. “For the government to require them to choose between abandoning their beliefs or abandoning their business is both unfair and unconstitutional. We will ask the court in this case to uphold our clients’ right of religious liberty in the face of this unwarranted abuse of governmental power.”

The Griesediecks own four companies across Missouri — two in Springfield, one in St. Louis and another in O’Fallon — that involve recycling scrap metal and manufacturing recycling machines. They employ 175 people covered by three separate health insurance policies.

The administration gave most businesses until this past August to comply with the mandate. Some faith-based organizations — including Catholic hospitals and nonprofit ministries — do not qualify for the ”accommodation” given by the federal government, forcing them to find a way to comply by August 2013.

The Archdiocese of Miami is one of those. It also filed a lawsuit Friday against the administration, seeking permanent relief from the mandate.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski said during a press conference that the courts need to overturn the mandate, since the Obama administration has not shown any inclination to rescind it.

“They’re trying to make us provide these services to our employees and also provide them in our institutions,” he said. “The state is trying to dictate to the Church how we should practice our faith. And this should not be allowed to stand. … I believe the archdiocese is defending religious freedom not only for the Catholic Church and its many ministries, but for all faiths.” 

Read Griesedieck v. Sebelius.

Learn more about the Archdiocese of Miami.