by Norm Miller

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews)—The US Supreme Court’s decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores is good news for Americans’ religious liberty and Truett-McConnell College, at least for now, according to Dr. Emir Caner, president of the Cleveland, Ga., institution.

Caner previously has stated the Georgia Baptist college would “never provide abortifacient drugs” as part of its health insurance plan for employees. He based the statement on his conviction, and that of other Georgia Baptists, that the Bible affirms the sanctity of human life, and that the US Constitution guarantees the right to life.

The 5-4 SCOTUS decision affirms the right of Christian owners of the for-profit businesses to operate their health plans in a way that is consistent with their faith and values.

Though the ruling protected family business owners, it has left unanswered whether the so-called accommodation to the contraceptive mandate provided to religious non-profit employers is constitutional.

According to “Fifty-one religious nonprofits have filed lawsuits against the birth-control mandate, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is coordinating the legal campaign against the policy. Those plaintiffs say the HHS accommodation is inadequate and still violates their religious freedom. (They were the first to start challenging the birth-control mandate; cases from for-profit employers just happened to make it to the Supreme Court first.)”

While a narrowly carved exemption exists for churches and other closely held ministries, many other ministries are subject to the controversial accommodation. Truett-McConnell College is among the 51 religious organizations challenging the accommodation.

Regarding the SCOTUS action, Dr. Caner said: “For those who hold so dearly to the American and biblical principle of religious liberty, today we stand up and gratefully applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the right of Hobby Lobby owners to stand for their faith. This crucial ruling, along with a hopeful affirmative decision of our case by the courts in the future, can illustrate to a new generation of Americans the incredible blessing of living with unfettered religious liberty, unencumbered by government coercion and interference.”

“As believers in the Lord, this ruling for liberty also affirms our right to stand for the biblical principle of life against such measures that will terminate the life of the unborn. One cannot overestimate the importance of today’s decision and the importance of our case that presently finds itself before the courts,” Caner added. “For the sake of a new generation, we must fight for religious liberty whenever it is questioned.”


With reportage from Roy Hayhurst of GuideStone Financial Resources.

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