In a decision with implications for religious freedom advocates, a U.S. District Judge has issued an injunction preventing the federal government from imposing the HHS mandate on the radio ministry of evangelical pastor James Dobson, according to World Net Daily.
Dobson filed a lawsuit last year challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that requires even religious employers to provide coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures or face punishing financial penalties.
In a statement made public, Dobson reportedly said that the penalties would have cost his public and radio ministry $800,000 per year and likely would have forced him to close down.
The lawsuit, which was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn issued an injunction that prevents the Obama administration from imposing the mandate or levying its substantial penalties against Dobson’s ministry while the lawsuit works its way through court.
Dobson reportedly wrote, “We are celebrating and thanking the Lord this morning. Victory is ours. We won our case against [former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius and the Obama administration.”
ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said in a release at the time the lawsuit was filed, “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms. Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
This case is one of dozens filed by religious organizations, including many Catholic colleges, against the HHS Mandate.
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