Ave Maria University President Jim Towey recently discussed the University’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate in an interview with Drew Steele on Daybreak Fox News radio.
The HHS mandate would require the University to enable coverage for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization under its employee health plan, which violates the University’s Catholic beliefs. Towey noted that the University filed a lawsuit earlier this year, but the case was dismissed with the Administration’s promise of future accommodations. When the mandate was finalized, there were no exceptions made for Catholic universities like Ave Maria. The University recently re-filed its lawsuit.
Towey stated flatly, “We will not comply with the federal government’s requirements.”
Steele described the situation as a very tough “David and Goliath” struggle, to which Towey responded that he “likes how the David and Goliath battle ended.”
“We kind of see ourselves in David’s sandals. We like our arguments. We think the Constitution protects our sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The mandate is supposed to go into effect on January 1, at which time Ave Maria would have the choice of complying with the mandate, or paying millions of dollars in fines.
“For us, this is not only a matter of conscience, but also a matter of survival to fight this,” Towey said. He described the mandate as an “attack on religious liberty” which people are starting to “wake-up to.”
In the interview, Steele and Towey also discussed the recent headlines about Pope Francis’ comments in a recent interview with Jesuit publication America.
Towey said that there is nothing “groundbreaking” in the Pope’s comments and that “the media is obsessed with their agenda as they push [for] abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and so they’re going to try to exploit what he says.”
Towey said that the Pope is talking about how “being pro-life and pro-poor go hand in hand,” and that he’s “inviting us to look at the needs of our neighbor… without compromising our beliefs in life and traditional marriage.”
Dozens of Ave Maria students are serving those in need through social programs in the local area around the University, Towey said.
“We’ve had a theologian and philosopher pope preceding him [Pope Francis]; he adds another beautiful voice to the course of the Church,” Towey said.
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