Geneva College and the Supreme Court - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Faith President's Desk
April 15, 2016

Geneva College and the Supreme Court

“I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him (Acts 26:16).’” There speaks the Roman governor Festus, proud of the Roman tradition of justice. He is preparing to hear Paul defend himself against the Jewish charge of sedition.

We Americans are proud of our freedom, living “in the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” The cherished First Amendment to our Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Paul the Roman spoke for himself in Roman courts, and two different Roman governors in Palestine concluded that he was innocent of the charge of sedition. Roman law and justice possessed the resources to do justice! It was the same with Jesus. Governor Pilate declared Him innocent of the charge of rebellion. 

On March 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States heard an oral argument from Geneva, and many others, not to be forced to comply with certain regulations made pursuant to the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). We want to be free from coercion to do wrong by cooperating with anyone in any way to provide abortifacients to our employees. (Before the American Civil War, Geneva College, citing God’s Law in Deuteronomy 23:15, similarly rejected the American government’s requirement that citizens help return escaped slaves to their masters.) Our claim to freedom from certain ACA regulations has deep roots in our certainty that a new human from conception bears the image of God because “a person’s a person no matter how small (Dr. Seuss).” By living in her mother’s womb, a girl has done nothing worthy of death. Neither has a boy.

American law has the traditions and resources to recognize Geneva College’s freedom, just as Roman law had the resources to find Jesus and Paul innocent. Will the Supreme Court of the United States respect “the free exercise of religion,” which includes the right not to be forced to do wrong? Will it apply the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and uphold American freedom? 

Bill EdgarDr. William Edgar, Interim President


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