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HomeWorld & NationFOCUS Catholic college ministry sues government over HHS mandate

FOCUS Catholic college ministry sues government over HHS mandate

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration Dec. 3 on behalf of the Evergreen-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the administration’s HHS mandate that forces religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse,” explained senior counsel Mike Norton. “If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence for keeping their faith, there is no limit to what freedoms it can take away.”

FOCUS, founded in 1998 by Curtis Martin and his wife Michaelann at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kans., is an outreach that brings Christ and the Church to students at colleges and universities all over the U.S. It was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call to a new evangelization.

Martin, FOCUS president, was joined by three other staff members in filing the suit. He, along with more than 350 FOCUS missionaries, willingly stand by an Oath of Fidelity to Church teachings and “promise to always preserve communion with the Catholic Church.”

“As Catholics, we do not impose our faith on anyone, but rather propose to others the life-changing power of God’s love. And as Americans, we cherish the religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution,” said John Zimmer, vice president of training and formation. “We revere each individual’s right to form and follow his or her own conscience, and we demand that the United States government allow us the freedom to follow ours.”

The suit, Fellowship of Catholic University Students v. Sebelius, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are litigating numerous other lawsuits against the mandate, representing both Catholic and Protestant organizations.

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