What’s a Christian business owner supposed to do?

by Mark Taylor –

My parents founded Tyndale House Publishers 50 years ago as a Christian publishing company. From the very beginning we have published Bibles, and we also publish a wide range of other Christian books. Our corporate purpose is “to minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.”

I’ve always thought—in a theoretical way—that I might someday face a situation where the government was asking or telling me to do something that was counter to God’s law as I understood it. If such a situation arose, I hoped I would have the backbone to stand tall and disobey the government mandate. Well, that day seems to have come.

The Obama administration’s new healthcare legislation is exceedingly complex. One aspect of the complexity is that hundreds of details have to be worked out by one or more departments of the executive branch.

As is now widely known, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ruled that health insurance plans must provide contraceptives free of charge to all plan beneficiaries. As a Protestant, I don’t have a moral objection to contraceptives per se. But HHS defines contraception to include abortifacients such as Plan B (the morning-after pill), Ella (the week-after pill), and intrauterine devices. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admits that one purpose of these drugs and devices is to keep the fertilized egg from “implantation” onto the wall of the uterus. In other words, their purpose is to cause an early abortion of a human being that is made in the image of God. That’s where I draw the line.

After an initial outcry from the Roman Catholic Church and others, HHS said that certain religious nonprofit organizations could sidestep the requirement for an extra year—but not religious companies like Tyndale. And after that year, even the nonprofit groups would have to provide insurance that covers these services free of charge. But even this “solution” doesn’t provide any relief for companies who (1) object on religious or moral grounds to some elements of this mandate, (2) are organized as for-profit companies, or (3) are self-insured. So what are Christian owners of such companies to do?

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