The fountain in front of Southern Nazarene University (SNU) holds special meaning for the SNU community. The stones used to build it are part of the original building that housed Southern Nazarene University upon its founding in 1899. The fountain serves as a reminder of the private Christian university's roots and what SNU has stood for throughout the past 117 years.
"We believe that every graduate, we hope, will be a minister of some sort wherever they are," says Dr. Gresham. "It may be in business, in education, or whatever field, but they will also be involved in making Christ-like disciples around them and being the salt and light and leaven that we are called to by Christ."
It's no surprise that a university with this foundation of faith would believe in the sanctity of life. Being a pro-life, Christian university has never been a problem in a country that was founded on religious freedom and the rights of all people to live out their faith in their daily lives. That is, until now.
The Obama Administration's HHS mandate is forcing Southern Nazarene University to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans, in violation of everything the university stands for. SNU believes that life begins at conception and is opposed to providing abortifacients, like Plan B and ella, which can prevent the new life from implanting in the uterus.
That's why Southern Nazarene University is fighting back against this unfair, unjust, and frankly unnecessary mandate.
SNU joins four other Christian universities represented by Alliance Defending Freedom in two separate lawsuits against the mandate, which, combined, will be heard by the United States Supreme Court on March 23.
"This is way more than a fight for life as we see it," says Dr. Gresham. "It is an attempt to say that the founding principles of the Constitution for free exercise of beliefs and the very First Amendment to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights still applies today."
Southern Nazarene University should not have to sacrifice its faith or its freedom. The government has no right to impose its own belief system on the American people and threaten these pro-life institutions with outrageous and potentially crippling fines. The Supreme Court should uphold the right of religious non-profits to offer employee and student health plans that reflect their pro-life, religious beliefs.
Dr. Melissa Lewis, chair of SNU's School of Music sums it up best, "if the government has the ability to tell us ‘you must do this’ in this one area, what’s next?"
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