Obama: Bible Publisher Not Religious Enough to Buck HHS Mandate

Tyndale employees
Tyndale employees at corporate headquarters. (Tyndale House)

Tyndale House Publishers has filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration after the company was deemed "insufficiently religious" to qualify for an exemption to the nation's health care overhaul law, which requires employers to provide abortion pill coverage.

Filed Tuesday in the District of Columbia, the suit claims the Carol Stream, Ill.-based company has been refused a "religious employer" exemption because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) maintains that any for-profit publisher is categorically non-religious.

Tyndale, though, is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials and is owned by the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation, which provides grants to help meet physical and spiritual needs around the world.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which filed the suit on behalf of Tyndale, called the rule an unconstitutional and arbitrary threat to religious freedom.

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"Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. "To say that a Bible publisher is not religious is patently absurd. Tyndale House is a prime example of how ridiculous and arbitrary the Obama administration's mandate is. Americans today clearly agree with America's founders: The federal government's bureaucrats are not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out."

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare" as constitutional. Formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare includes a "preventive services" mandate issued by the HHS, which forces businesses to provide the morning-after and "week-after" pills—without co-pay—in their health insurance plans.

"Obamacare demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: Either desert your faith by complying or resist and be punished," Bowman said.

Last month, Hobby Lobby and its sister company, Mardel Christian & Education, filed a similar suit, claiming the government mandate is forcing the company's owners "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits." Failure to provide the drugs in the company's health insurance plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day.

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