MOORE — Oklahoma Southern Baptists are urging President Barack Obama to withdraw a controversial health care mandate because they assert it violates their right of religious liberty.
The request came in the form of a resolution approved Tuesday by Baptist delegates gathered for the denomination's 106th annual meeting at First Baptist Church of Moore, 301 NE 27.
“Religious liberty is really at the heart of our beliefs, not only our history,” Brian Hobbs, spokesman for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said Tuesday.
The resolution, which Hobbs said was written before the Nov. 6 presidential election, was one of nine approved at Tuesday's convention gathering. The convention is the state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The state Baptists join a list of groups and organizations that have expressed vehement opposition to a U.S. Health and Human Services mandate that requires businesses, including faith-based businesses, to pay for contraception and what the groups describe as abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been vocal in its opposition of the mandate. Also, Oklahoma City-based retail giant Hobby Lobby filed suit against the government in September, saying the new federal health care rule conflicts with owner David Green's Christian values.
Hobbs said Tuesday was not the first time Oklahoma Baptists have spoken out against the mandate. He said a statement by the convention's executive director-treasurer Anthony Jordan was read at a faith-based sanctity of life event in February at the state Capitol in which the Baptist leader said Oklahoma Baptists would stand with Roman Catholics in opposing the measure.