Moving forward: Lawyers aren't done with the federal healthcare overhaul, even though the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legislation in a landmark ruling yesterday. Lawsuits filed by several Christian colleges, institutions and employers are still pending and will give the law it's next day in court. Six schools have filed suit against the federal government over the requirement that all insurance plans must provide coverage for contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and sterilization procedures, a part of the law the high court decision did not address. In all, 23 suits are pending in 14 states and the District of Columbia. "Never in history has there been a mandate forcing individuals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs or pay a severe fine, a fine which could force many homeless shelters, charities, and religious institutions to shut their doors," said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University and Ave Maria University. The Alliance Defense Fund is representing Louisiana College and Geneva College. The University of Notre Dame also has filed suit over the mandate.
Student loan deal: After punting this political football back and forth for months, Republicans and Democrats have announced a deal to extend lower interest rates on subsidized student loans. The rates were set to increase July 1 without an extension. Legislation passed in 2007 by the Democratically controlled Congress incrementally reduced the Stafford Direct Subsidized Loan interest rate by half, from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. About 7.4 million students hold the subsidized loans. Extending the lower rates will cost about $6 billion.
Fiery furnace: Wildfires in Colorado licked the edges of the U.S. Air Force Academy earlier this week and have prompted at least three Christian organizations to evacuate offices in the Colorado Springs area. The Navigators, a national campus ministry, and HCJB Global, a healthcare mission group, have evacuated ahead of the Waldo Canyon fire. Summit Ministries, which hosts worldview training camps for college students and young adults, had to relocate several of its summer sessions to Colorado Christian University, in Lakewood, Colo. Earlier this week, more than 120 soldiers using heavy equipment helped stop flames from advancing on the Air Force Academy campus, where the fire burned 10 acres but spared all structures. The fire has consumed 26 square miles and about 350 homes. One person is known dead and several others are missing.