Wheaton College today joined other religious institutions in filing lawsuits over the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate. President Philip Ryken spoke with Christianity Today about the college’s decision.
How did you decide to pursue the lawsuit?
The Wheaton College Board of Trustees has been concerned about the Health and Human Services mandate from the very time that it was first delivered to us, back in September. The Wheaton College board has been keeping abreast of developments throughout the year. I have written on several occasions both to the secretary of Health and Human Services and to the President expressing our concerns on issues of religious liberty as it relates to the mandate. We’ve also been working in concert with other evangelical institutions here at the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities throughout the year on these issues. By May, the Wheaton College Board of Trustees decided that no remedy was yet forthcoming and therefore it was important for us to file a lawsuit. However, we decided we wanted to wait until the Supreme Court made its decision on the health insurance mandate generally, at the end of June, in case there would be some remedy forthcoming through the Supreme Court decision. When that proved not to be the case, we were ready to file a lawsuit.
Is there any danger in at least appearing political with this lawsuit?
Wheaton College is not a partisan institution and the effect of our filing on any political process has played no part at all in any of our board discussions on the issue. The timing of things is driven primarily by the mandate itself. Wheaton College stands to face punitive fines already on January 1, 2013, and I am ...1