The Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, meeting in Orlando, Florida, March 8, 2012, expresses its concern over the inadequate protection of religious organizations in the final regulation on preventive health services published in the February 15, 2012, Federal Register. The narrow definition of “religious employer” fails to protect many organizations from this mandate, while undermining future protection for all religious organizations from objectionable requirements in other areas of federal law.
We respectfully ask President Obama to reconsider the plan to issue a new rule creating a group of religious organizations afforded accommodations, but not protection. We ask the President instead to amend the current exemption to include any objecting nonprofit organization that holds itself out to the public as religious and that engages in religious, charitable or educational activities for sincere religious purposes. We also ask that the regulation be amended to explicitly protect the right of religious employers to explain their religious objections to their employees.