Influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren said Sunday that he is not satisfied with the Obama administration’s compromise on a requirement that religious-affiliated organizations provide contraception coverage to employees, and said religious freedom is at stake.
“The issue here is not about women’s health,” Warren said on ABC’s This Week. “There is a greater principle, and that is do you have the right to decide what your faith practices?”
The controversy has animated political discourse the last several months, with Republicans charging that Democrats are waging a "war on religion" while Democrats retort that Republicans are fighting a "war on women." The initial rule required religious-affiliated universities and hospitals to offer health plans that cover contraception; under the compromise, insurance companies have to pay for that part of the coverage.
Warren, who spoke at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, sounded a negative note about the president’s economic policies even as he said Obama alone is not to blame for the nation's woes.
“Most people would not think they’re better off economically than they were four years ago,” said Warren. Asked who he holds responsible, he blamed an array of people.
“I hold everyone responsible for that,” he said. “I hold the people who got themselves in debt. I hold the government that got themselves in debt. I hold multiple administrations. It’s not the fault of any one person. There’s plenty enough blame to be passed around.”
Warren is pastor of the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and author of the best-seller The Purpose Driven Life.