Belmont Abbey College suing over President Obama's healthcare plan

BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - A battle over faith and birth control.  Belmont Abbey College is suing over President Obama's health care plan.

Belmont Abbey is a Catholic college.  Leaders say birth control is not allowed in the Catholic faith.

But they say the new law would force the college to cover birth control for employees.

The college is now taking a stand.

Some are calling this a case of David vs. Goliath.

Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina is actually suing the United States federal government.

At issue is a mandate in the new health care law that requires companies, organizations, colleges to cover free contraception and other birth control as part of their health care plans.

"This is radical. This is extremely in its definition. I've never seen anything like it, no," says Belmont Abbey's President Dr. William Thierfelder.

He was reacting to the new federal health care act passed by Congress last year and signed by President Obama.

A provision in the law, which takes effect next August, will require the Catholic college to provide free contraception and other birth control as part of its health care plan for its employees and students.

The Catholic church teaches that contraception, sterilization and abortion are all against God's law.

And the government mandate forces Belmont Abbey to either violate its religious-beliefs or pay a hefty fine.

It's why Belmont Abbey officials, at a news conference Friday afternoon, were announcing that they are suing the federal government.

The college is being aided by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit Washington-based law firm.

"This is basically the federal government coming in telling a private organization that they can't believe.. hold something that they hold very dearly," says Emily Hardman of the Becket Fund.

Students held signs that read religious liberty is a human right.  Another that said if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

What are the chances the tiny college will win against big Uncle Sam?

Says President Thierfelder:  "I've heard people say David and Goliath story. This must be how God works. He puts what may be the weakest.. Who would think Belmont Abbey College going up against the U.S. government. Who would have thought of that.. I couldn't make that up. But that's where we find ourselves.. You got to do what you know to be true."

Normally religious organizations might get an exemption.

But the Health and Human Services Department, overseeing the health care mandate, says in order to be exempt a religious organization must primarily employ or serve people of the same faith.

Belmont Abbey wouldn't fall under that since it admits non-Catholics.

The case has been filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC.

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