Religious Freedom Advocate: Ministries May Be 'Disappointed'

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 02:14 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Religious ministries may be "disappointed" with a new series of Obamacare regulations announced by the White House on Friday to address the law's contraception mandate, Lori Windham, senior counsel to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, tells Newsmax TV.

"I know that there is going to be a lot of disappointment. Religious ministries have been urging the administration to recognize that ministries that serve and help the poor and serve their country deserve the same degree of freedom as churches who are already exempt from this mandate," Windham told "America's Forum" on Monday.

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Windham said the new regulations were "the eighth time that the administration has changed this mandate" as part of its "long retreat, as they have been losing again and again in their legal battles."

"They are proposing to change some of the notification procedures for religious ministries who object to this mandate. And, for the first time, they are recognizing that American families do not lose their religious freedom when they open a family business, and they're proposing to make an accommodation, as they call it, for family business owners," Windham said.

The change involves the notification procedure, which would require a group to go to the government instead of an insurance administrator if it had objections to birth control for religious reasons, Windham said. Some groups might feel that the change didn't provide enough distance between the organizations and the government, she said.

"Whether religious organizations feel that this is enough separation between something that they cannot do and something that the government is mandating someone to do is really a question of conscience, and a question of religious belief that they're going to have to wrestle with," she said.

Several hundred religious organizations had filed lawsuits with the government over the contraception mandate, Windham said, adding that she wasn't sure whether some groups would continue their legal challenges, given the newest changes.

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