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Churches Sue Over California’s Imperious Decree

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It was a shockingly gross violation of the First Amendment when California’s Department of Managed Health Care ordered churches to pay for abortions requested by their employees.

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a civil liberties lawsuit on behalf of three Southern California churches, but the mandate is not just unconstitutional. It flies in the face of recent Supreme Court rulings striking down regulations requiring abortion coverage that conflict with religious faith. It also violates federal rules prohibiting states receiving federal funds from requiring abortion coverage in a benefits package, whether or not faith is an issue.

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Of course it should be no shock in our time to discover government is the most lawless constituency in the land. My prayer is this lawsuit does more than just succeed; may it set state government flat on its back with heads rolling over the wasted public funds spent defending it.

Taking matters in reverse order, the suit should succeed because of the very lawlessness of government at all levels, though it may fail for that reason. ADF filed a complaint with the feds when state bureaucrats ruled in August, 2014. Although the mandate is a clear violation of federal rules, the national bureaucrats sided with their state-based cousins, and ADF then sued.

Attorneys called the state action nothing short of strong-arming and one pastor represented in the suit vowed he would go to jail before he would pay for abortions.

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The first issue is simplicity itself: Government under the 14th Amendment is required to follow its own rules. Yet this doctrine is nothing more than a piece of paper until hundreds of thousands of professing Christians – and otherwise freedom-loving Americans – show the courage of Pastor Jack Hibbs. Our constitution is not paper under glass in Philadelphia; it is literally “we the people.”

The second issue is as simple. Are we a nation of laws, or of men in power with big guns behind them?

Officials at all levels and all political persuasions love to tout the U..S Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of law in our land. The Court – beginning with the Hobby Lobby case – has repeatedly ruled in Obamacare litigation that government cannot force people to violate their faith to provide abortion coverage to employees.

Yet California’s Department of Managed Health Care issued its edict in the full knowledge it was violating the law as interpreted by their beloved SCOTUS. The bureaucrats know their resources are orders of magnitude above those of their victims. They can do as they please for as long as it takes to navigate the full-court press of the court system. It is time they were pressed down like olives pressed for their oil.

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Most potent is the constitutional issue itself. The First Amendment is clear that government may not encroach on freedom to hold, teach…

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
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