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State Baptist group opposes part of ‘Obamacare’comment (0)

October 10, 2013

The Christian Life Commission (CLC) of the Alabama Baptist State Convention (ABSC) unanimously adopted a resolution Oct. 1 opposing the much-debated Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. It is being opposed because the mandate infringes on religious liberty, CLC members said.

The CLC addressed the issue somewhat later than most groups who decided to oppose it, but the timing is related to how the state convention entities work.

A motion related to the topic was made at the November 2012 ABSC annual meeting by Tom Stacey, member of Elkdale Baptist Church, Selma, and director of missions for Selma Baptist Association.

Stacey’s motion — which asked that the CLC in cooperation with the ABSC executive leadership file an amicus brief in federal court to support those groups filing lawsuits related to the contraceptive mandate — was referred to the CLC for consideration. CLC members first met in February and heard from Stacey about his motion. “This mandate is ... an assault on the value of life,” he said. “I’m opposed to abortion and this mandate supports it.”

James Jordan, of the Nashville law firm of Guenther, Jordan and Price and CLC counsel, said, “Thus far there have been 71 lawsuits filed asking for accommodation for religiously affiliated organizations.” 

Guidestone Financial Resources, Southern Baptist’s retirement and insurance agency, also has announced its intention to file suit and that it won’t provide abortion drug coverage in health insurance plans “no matter what,” Jordan noted.

“Historically, divided matters like this make it to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said.

While Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has filed an amicus brief, the Alabama Baptist CLC decided not to follow suit. Instead, the committee is submitting the resolution adopted Oct. 1 to be considered by the ABSC Resolutions Committee.

The resolution says in part, “... we express solidarity with those persons across our nation who are engaged in legal actions opposing the contraceptive services mandate in order to champion a robust view of religious freedom in America.”

The Resolutions Committee will meet Oct. 22 to decide about this and other resolutions to be considered by messengers at the Nov. 12–13 ABSC annual meeting in Huntsville. 

(Michael Brooks contributed)

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