College of the Ozarks filed suit Monday to block the Health and
Human Services mandate being imposed on religious institutions,
saying it violates the school's sincerely held religious
College of the
Ozarks is an interdenominational school near Branson, Missouri.
School president Jerry Davis tells OneNewsNow that the objection
centers on the requirement that its health plan contain access to
coverage and related education and counseling for elective abortion
and abortifacient drugs.
"Now we have this so-called 'religious employer exemption'
designed by some bureaucrat -- I don't know who it is -- and it
proposes to tell us that we're not religious enough to have the
religious exemption. Well, that's just plain crazy," Davis
The college says the mandate and the "narrowly crafted"
religious employer exemption make it impossible for College of the
Ozarks to comply with its religious beliefs.
"We are a pervasively religious institution," he explains, "but
according to the new definition I'm not sure that Jesus and the
apostles would qualify. It's so restrictive -- and the government
has no business entangling itself into this sort of thing."
Davis says the mandate violates the Constitution and everything
the College of the Ozarks stands for.
"... In the end, in this country the American people are going
to have the final say," says the college president. "We don't live
in North Korea. You can't just go out here and order the people to
do something without getting challenged on it. That's why we have
the judiciary -- and that's why we're in federal court."
Davis is asking the court to issue a temporary order stopping
the mandate pending resolution of the lawsuit. He adds: "We all
would hope the government would come to its senses. That may be
asking too much, but we can still hope for that."
College of the Ozarks is also known as "Hard Work U." None of
its 1,350 students pay tuition; rather, each student works 15 hours
a week, plus two 40-hour work weeks each year to defray the cost of
their education. The balance of the cost comes from scholarships