Pastor Jay Smith of Cedar Park Church in Washington state condemns officials for forcing them to include abortion insurance in their church health plan. This also led them to lodge a lawsuit against the state.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, "Washington state law, SB 6219, forces churches to cover elective abortions in their health insurance plans. As a result of the state's mandate, Cedar Park Church's insurance carrier inserted surgical abortion coverage directly into the church's health plan."
Cedar Park Church pastors Jay and Sandy Smith, who are aware that their religious freedom is being violated, decided to file a lawsuit as a way of fighting the unjust legislation.
To provide additional information regarding the church's decision to proceed with a legal action against the state order, Pastor Smith shared his thoughts on the issue in an article published by Real Clear Religion.
"For us, sanctity of life is not some vague philosophy to which we owe religious lip service," he wrote.
As part of that commitment, he said that his church works with a local pregnancy center and foster care workers are sponsoring a childcare camp and operating a funeral home.
Every year, they also organize a special prayer service for couples who are experiencing reproductive difficulties. The organization even encourages its members to adopt "snowflake" infants, which are frozen embryos that have been left over following in vitro fertilization procedures. Thus, Cedar Park is the kind of church that does not take its pro-life beliefs for granted.
Pastor Smith points out that no state other than Washington compels churches to offer coverage of abortion as part of their insurance plan. This is despite the clear guidelines in the First Amendment's free exercise clause and recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court that specifically deter government antagonism towards people of faith.
Furthermore, he questions why the state of Washington offers "secular and religious exemptions to its abortion-coverage mandate" but won't specifically extends it to their church.
The D.C. pastor also noted that when churches include complete maternity care in their health plans, the provision for abortion gets activated. In effect, the legislation will soon mandate churches to accept both abortion and childbirth on an equal footing, regardless of their religious beliefs.
His church's concerns aside, and obviously a comment on the notion that is being promoted about pro-life groups advocating for life in the womb but providing no assistance after the baby is born, Pastor Smith shared that both he and his wife understand how terrifying an unexpected, unwanted child can be.
Pastor Smith wrote with vulnerability about how he and his wife discovered they were expecting a child while they were still teens. His wife, like many other women, considered abortion before eventually deciding to marry.
"We know that life is hard but also precious - that out of even the worst circumstances, He can build a future and a hope," he said.
"That's a truth - and yes, a joy - that no government has the right to take away or compel us to ignore, which is why our church is challenging our state's efforts to force us to compromise our most cherished principles: that life is a gift given by God, which we treasure, celebrate, and protect, especially in its most vulnerable forms," he added.