Questions for Rick Warren

December 9, 2013

Rick Warren says that the Obama administration violated the First Amendment when it required businesses to provide employees to provide insurance that covers birth control. He said it was akin to making Jewish delis sell pork.

Here are some questions that came up in my mind when I heard his reasoning.

•Isn’t that metaphor inaccurate? The UN has declared that birth control is a basic human right. Birth control is often needed for women’s health. Contraception allows women to get an education, go to work, and get out of poverty. Selling pork does none of these things. To equate the two makes no sense.

•What happens when we keep expanding corporate personhood? The Supreme Court cases that are coming up would expand corporate personhood beyond the practice of “free speech” (that “speech” is largely expressed by flooding our political system with cash) to corporate personhood’s ability to practice religion. Would that give corporations even more power and rights in our society? (I write more about this here.)

•What happens if bosses are allowed to dictate other private matters of women based on corporate personhood’s right to practice religion? What happens when my CEO thinks that I should submit to my husband? What happens when my boss thinks that I should stay married to my abusive spouse? Could he or she deny me a promotion if my actions go against their practice of religion?

•Could a corporate(person)’s right to practice religion erode employment protections and allow for discrimination? What if the corporate(person) decides that the divorced woman cannot be hired, because the boss doesn’t believe in divorce?

•Who gets to decide what is a legitimate practice of religion? For-profit corporations fighting against providing insurance coverage that covers certain contraception is such a tiny, particular act. But what happens when corporate personhood gets to dictate more cases? What happens when my boss wants to discriminate against gays and lesbians because of religious beliefs? What happens when my boss wants to discriminate against a man because he’s not married to the woman he’s living with? 

•What if my boss decides to create a religious practice in order to get out of paying for something he or she doesn’t feel like paying for?

•What if my boss simply doesn't like an administration and makes up a religious reason to fight against that administration?

•What happens when the rights of religion, as practiced by the CEO, clash with my beliefs? What if I think taking contraception is a religious practice because it empowers women? What if I’m a manager at Hobby Lobby, and I want to practice my religion by providing insurance coverage to cover contraception? Will the owner’s religious practice override my right to practice my religion?

I am a woman of faith who longs for the reduction of poverty, the empowerment of women, and an individual's right to practice relgion—and I think that an individual right to practice religion ought to be protected from corporate personhood's religious whims.


Great questions, Carol!  I

Great questions, Carol!  I would also be curious as to what Mr. Warren would say to women who are prescribed "birth control pills" for non-contraceptive purposes.  There are other health reasons women require a well-regulated cycle that the hormones in oral contraceptives provide. Even the most "chaste and celebate" among the female population often have bc pills prescribed for them.

Preach it!!

Thank you, Carol. All good points, all good questions. And it's great to know that the United Nations says birth control is a basic human right, I didn't know that. And yes, some women *do* take birth control pills/etc. for non-birth control reasons, such as reduced pain. I hope this post gets a lot of readers.

When did the UN become a guiding force for the US Constitution?

Our nation and Constitution both predate the UN and though a member nation, what allegiance does any American owe to the United Nations? None is the answer for me. What the various member nations decide to do or not do or what rights they choose to invent or declare have zero relevance to the laws of the United States. 

Another mistake is the view of corporations as only big companies. The majority are small Mom & Pops, family-owned businesses or single person owned entities. A person who incorporates a business does not give up inherit rights recognized by our Constitution.

Also the cost of OTC contraception is not high and can be categorized as an elective health care item. Why must others pay for your decision to buy and use birth control pills or other methods? Should we also pay for condoms for men? Why? It would be wonderful to hear people preaching empowerment finally recognize the inherent power and dignity of actually paying for some of your own needs. 

I mention the UN to make a

I mention the UN to make a point about how important birth control is. I never said that it's a guiding force for our constitution. As a minister, I believe that the rights of women are important to uphold. 

I never said that corporations all corporations are big companies.

And on the "dignity of actually paying for some of your own needs..." people who are working for a company and get insurance are getting a benefit as a form of compensation. So, in a way, they are paying for their needs.

Absurd comparison

You criticize Rick Warren for comparing birth-control to pork but then you make a far more absurd comparison when you compare a company not paying for birth-control with trying to force women to stay in an abusive relationship or forcing women to submit to their husbands. Not only is that an inaccurate comparison it's blatantly insulting and offensive. And there is a difference between not paying for birth-control and denying that someone has a right to birth-control.

Perhaps that it too far on

Perhaps divorce is too far on the slippery slope (although it wouldn't have been unheard of a couple decades ago...). But it wouldn't be too far to see how LGBTQs have been discriminated against in some  places.