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Tom Strode and Roy Hayhurst

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Bapt. leaders thankful housing allowance challenge ends for now

DALLAS (BP) -- The legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ministerial housing allowance is over -- for now. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) announced June 14 it would not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court its March judicial loss, thus concluding its latest effort to gain nullification of the allowance that is part of a 65-year-old federal law. The FFRF was not confident of its chances of winning its appeal given the current make-up of the high court, according to its news release.

Baptist leaders praise housing allowance ruling

CHICAGO (BP) -- Southern Baptist entity leaders applauded a federal appeals court decision March 15 upholding the constitutionality of the ministerial housing allowance. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled unanimously the long-standing clergy allowance does not violate the First Amendment clause that prohibits government establishment of religion. The decision reversed a federal judge's 2017 opinion that invalidated the allowance as a violation of the establishment clause.

GuideStone gains final win over mandate

DALLAS (BP) -- GuideStone Financial Resources has secured a conclusive victory in its lengthy, legal battle against the Obama-era abortion/contraception mandate. A federal judge in Oklahoma issued a final judgment July 17 in favor of the Southern Baptist Convention's health and financial benefits entity, as well as ministries it serves, GuideStone reported Aug. 8. The ruling brought to an end GuideStone's challenge of a 2011 rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that helped implement a controversial health-care law enacted the previous year. The regulation required employers to provide their workers with coverage for contraceptives, including those that can potentially induce abortions, or face potentially devastating fines.

GuideStone, ministries gain win against HHS mandate

DALLAS (BP) -- GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and the ministries it serves have gained a vital, legal victory against the Obama-era abortion/contraception mandate, marking a seven-year religious liberty battle. A federal court in Oklahoma issued a permanent injunction March 15 that bars the U.S. government from enforcing a 2011 rule that helped implement a controversial health care law enacted the previous year. The regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires employers to provide their workers ...