I'd go to jailrather than cave in to a govement mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) February 8, 2012
With one single tweet, Rick Warren exposes the strategy behind the recent attacks on the Obama administration's birth control policy and the church establishment.
Via Daily Kos, Markos writes:
You see, Warren's ministry is located in Lake Forest, California (Orange County). And a birth control mandate has been law in California for a long time. Since 1999, actually.
Cal. Insurance Code § 10123.196 and Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25(1999) require certain health insurance policies that already cover prescription drugs to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive methods approved by the FDA. Religious employers can request health insurance plans without coverage of approved contraceptive methods that are contrary to the employer’s religious tenants. (AB 39)
Now, California allows churches to opt out, but so does the federal one. In fact, the federal law was modeled after the exemption offered by California and other states.
This should elicit a big "duh" from anyone following this, but I think it's still important to highlight. This is not about religious values or ethics. It is solely political. Here is a Saddleback FAQ from 2008. There are statements about embryonic stem cell research and abortion in there, but nothing -- absolutely nothing -- about birth control or contraception. While it is true that Warren advocates for abstinence-only measures for unmarried women, I can find no statement of his that speaks to what married women may or may not do within church doctrine.
Whether or not Warren has consistently been anti-birth control, it is clear that this sudden need to declare his willingness to go to jail is nothing more than a cynical political ploy to mobilize the fundamentalist base against the President's initiative to actually look after women's reproductive health. It is political, it is intentional, and it fits with his overall tone on Twitter in particular. He seems to enjoy being derisive toward this administration.
I defended Obama's choice of Warren to deliver the invocation at his inaugural and did so at a price. I alienated gay friends and progressive friends alike, but I did it because I had personal experience with the Rick Warren I thought I knew. It turns out they were right and I was wrong, and so was President Obama, who not only paid a price at the time for that choice but pays one now by being stabbed in the back publicly by someone he reached out to. It's not the first time and it won't be the last, but I am wiser these past few months for observing the tone, tenor and gist of Warren's public statements on policy and politics.
Meanwhile, it would be good for Rick Warren to let us know whether Saddleback's health insurance plan complies with California law or not.