Press Release

Court rules against Evangelical ministry Government to force Reaching Souls to violate faith or pay massive IRS penalties

Media Contact

Melinda Skea 202-349-7224 media@becketlaw.org

Additional Information

Washington, D.C. – Moments ago, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Reaching Souls International must comply with the government’s HHS mandate, which forces religious ministries to violate their faith or pay massive IRS penalties.

The following statement can be attributed to Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for Reaching Souls International:

We’re disappointed with today’s decision, which leaves in place the federal government’s aggressive, discriminatory, and unnecessary attack on the core religious beliefs of private religious ministries.  The government does not need to take over a church benefits plan to provide abortion-inducing drugs–the most powerful government in the world can obviously distribute drugs without hijacking religious institutions and their health plans.

Today the Tenth Circuit ruled that government can force Reaching Souls to choose to either violate their faith or pay massive IRS penalties. The court held that participating in the government’s contraception delivery scheme is “as easy as obtaining a parade permit, filing a simple tax for, or registering to vote” and that although Reaching Souls sincerely believes that participating in the scheme “make[s] them complicit in the overall delivery scheme,” the court “ultimately rejects the merits of this claim” because the court believes the scheme “relieves [Reaching Souls] from complicity.” 

Reaching Souls and their attorneys are closely reviewing the court’s decision and will decide soon whether they must seek relief from the Supreme Court.

Reaching Souls has rescued hundreds of orphans in Africa by placing them into loving homes. Founded by a Southern Baptist pastor and evangelist in 1986, Reaching Souls’ mission is “to reach Souls for Christ” by training, equipping, and supporting African, Cuban, and Indian pastors and evangelists as they preach the Gospel to their neighbors and countrymen. Through their dedicated preaching, pastors and evangelists trained and supported by Reaching Souls have reached out to over 20 million people in Africa, Cuba, and India.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket Fund attorney, please contact Melinda Skea atmskea@becketfund.org or 202.349.7224. 

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The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. For over 20 years, it has defended clients of all faiths, includingBuddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians.Its recent cases include three major Supreme Court victories: the landmark ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, and the 9-0 rulings in Holt v. Hobbs and Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the latter of which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”