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Evangelicals added weight to Catholic outcry over Obama contraception rule
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren lent his voice to the contraception fight with the White House.
February 10th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Evangelicals added weight to Catholic outcry over Obama contraception rule

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN)–The battle over who should pay for contraceptives and how has been framed in the news media as Catholics versus the Obama White House.

When the administration announced religiously affiliated institutions would have a year to comply with a new policy that require them to pay for contraceptives through insurance plans, it was Catholic bishops who led the criticism, firing off angry letters to be read at Mass in parishes nationwide. That campaign appears to have worked, with the White House signaling it will announce a compromise on its rule on Friday.

But in pushing the White House to change the rule, Catholics were joined by a politically formidable religious group that's OK with contraception but increasingly sensitive about what they say is a government bent on secularizing the public square: evangelical Christians.

"I'm not a Catholic," California megachurch pastor Rick Warren wrote on his Twitter feed Tuesday, "but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure."

A survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute showed Catholics were evenly divided over the issue of government mandated contraception insurance for Catholic institutions. The White House touted the survey to reporters to show there was support for the measure among Catholics.

The same survey showed that white evangelicals are the religious group who voice the greatest opposition to the new policy from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We do see white evangelicals pretty much right in line with the bishops on this one, while Catholics are actually more divided," said Daniel Cox, the director of research at the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research group.

"White evangelicals are strongly in support of having these religiously affiliated institutions being exempted," Cox said.

Most evangelical and conservative Christians from Protestant backgrounds do not oppose the use of contraceptives, as official Catholic teaching does. The issue for these groups is what they see as a threat to religious liberty.

Samuel "Dub" Oliver, the president of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas, said in an interview Thursday that he was willing and ready to go to jail rather than comply with the policy because he said it would violate his school's religious liberty. "In the long history of Baptist leaders, we feel strongly about religious liberty," he said. "Many have gone to jail and many have died defending religious liberty for all."

While his university's health center provides oral contraceptives, or the birth control pill, it does not provide emergency contraceptives. "We specifically exclude those, because according to our conscience, that's an abortifacient that we don't want to provide under our [insurance] plan," he said.  Many abortion opponents have argued that emergency contraceptives like "the morning after pill" acts to be an abortifacient, a medicine that can induce abortions. Emergency contraceptives are a stronger dose of birth control and health providers make a distinction between them and the abortion pill RU-486.

"The deeper idea for us is the idea of religious liberty and government has crossed a boundary to require them to do something that violates their conscience," Oliver said.

Warren, who delivered the invocation at President Obama's inauguration, tweeted this week that he, too, would go to jail over the issue .

Warren has a large national following. The pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California is also one of the best-selling authors of his generation with his book "The Purpose Driven Life."

"I'd go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do," Warren tweeted this week. "Would you? Acts 5:29."

Warren was referencing the New Testament's Books of Acts, in which Jesus' apostles had been jailed for preaching in the Jewish temple and were brought before the religious leaders of the day. The apostles responded to the charges, "We must obey God rather than men."

One of the first legal challenges to the new Obama policy came from Colorado Christian University, a nondenominational university near Denver. In December, it filed a lawsuit with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty challenging the HHS regulation as a violation of the school's First Amendment rights.

The Becket Fund, a conservative religious legal organization, represented  another college and the Catholic television channel EWTN in separate lawsuits against the policy.

Shapri LoMaglio, who heads government relations for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, which represents Colorado Christian and 114 other evangelical Christian schools in the United States, said the council's member schools actively lobbied members of Congress against the policy since its formal announcement last month.

"Our schools are very concerned. They see this as an infringement of religious liberties," LoMaglio said.

The Family Research Council, an evangelical group in Washington, also came out in full force against the policy. Calling the policy an "oppressive mandate" it pulled together members of Congress and those affected by the policy for a town hall-style webcast on Thursday evening.

The evangelical disdain for the policy may have a limited impact on the presidential election, said Cox, the pollster.

"This isn't a group likely to support Obama in the general election," he said. "The political implications are more for Catholics, in particular white Catholics. That is a group fairly evenly divided when it comes to this. When it comes to white evangelicals, three out of four are likely to vote for the eventual Republican nominee."

CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Health care • Politics

soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. Ilieionutnicusor

    I have everything from SCD, it's just hnaivg the time to upload them.If anyone remembers my account on You Tube (2enigmatic) then you'll probably remember that I uploaded every single thing that Alesha made an appearance on, but unfortunately my account got deleted because the BBC kept reporting my videos.

    October 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  2. Doc4Subs

    Even the thought floating through a single mind that fundamentalist/evangelicals could ever "add weight" to any particular issue is incredibly offensive! They might add "shrill shrieking harpy voices to any issues, but "add weight" by definition it is impossible that one who classifies themselves as a fundamentalist/evangelical to contribute to, much add weight to an intellectual conversation! If there is a threat to American Society, it will come from the evangelical/fundamentalists side of the house not being content to mumble an shake in the privacy of their own den they want to control what we read, write and think.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:59 am |
  3. Usman Akhtar

    Hi,

    Watch these videos to see who your Lord, Your Savior, is truly and who take Jesus back after his Cruisifiction. You are the people who enslaved themselves in the slavery of the people who cruisify Jesus. I Challenge you to deny these videos and the massage in these videos. Paradise, who’s Paradise? Think about your kids and what they believe in. Listen to these creatures very carefully. These creatures are saying the name of their and every bodies Creator. May be GOD wants to give you a chance? I hope you won't call these creatures terrorist. Good Luck.

    Watch these videos.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiX5AN1XiZg&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFcrCiaqfEg&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okazbOSMKSQ&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkXtzxKbthg&w=640&h=390]

    Watch where this Red car is going.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpex5x6YlL4&w=640&h=390]
    Usman Akhtar

    February 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • mncoptic

      Dude, so Muslim believe in allah because of a chicken? are you kidding me? is that the religion that the leader Muhamed had to marry a 6 years old because allah said so? what a f...

      August 27, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  4. David Johnson

    Isn't warren one of the ugliest looking people you ever saw?

    February 13, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  5. SuZieCoyote

    Hey Rick....I thought gluttony was a sin?

    February 12, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • jimtanker

      Gluttony is only a catholic sin. I guess that since he's evangelical he gets a pass.

      February 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  6. GodPot

    "Evangelicals added weight to Catholic outcry over Obama contraception rule" I think they meant that literally by the look of 'ol triple chin Rick there...

    February 12, 2012 at 6:26 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things
    Prayer really changes lives

    February 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • AGuest9

      So, are you a pathological liar or a delusional liar?

      February 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Prayer works miracles
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      February 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Pey

      What other living "things" are you referring to? Actually Christianity is terrible for other living non-human animals - as most christians love to claim that they have dominion over all other living creatures so that they can enslave them and then slaughter and eat them. Christianity is a barbaric practice based on love - for oneself.

      February 12, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Nope

      *The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."""""`~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      February 13, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Cedrick

      I am praying for you and your hubsand. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. I have both struggled with addiction and been the victim of people dealing with their addictions so I have seen both sides of the destruction that addiction can cause. It causes otherwise caring people to turn selfish and uncaring towards those who love them most. It fills hearts and minds with lies that feed the addiction and blind people to Truth. I am praying that God will comfort and strengthen you and help you connect with His love in a very special way. I am also praying that God will begin to break the chains that this addiction has placed on your hubsand. I am praying that your hubsand would begin to see and recognize Truth and turn from the sin he has become entrapped in. I am praying that you would both feel His presence strongly in your individual lives as well as in your relationship. I will continue to pray for you and hope you will continue to update on how you are doing and how we can continue to pray for you. God bless you.On a side note, have you looked into possibly seeing a counselor during this very difficult time in your life?

      May 19, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  8. El Flaco

    You will all be thrilled to know that I have come up with the perfect solution to this problem.

    Health insurance is paid for by both the employer and the employee.

    Let us instruct the insurance companies to keep those funds in separate accounts: one containing employer contributions and the other containing employee contributions.

    Let birth control be paid for exclusively from the employee's money, not by the employer's money.

    Problem solved; case closed!

    February 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  9. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer makes you kneel to sicko guys who wear expensive dresses and abuse kids.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses and prevents you from thinking.
    Prayer makes you even more fat than you already were.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 11, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  10. AvdBerg

    Rick Warren wrote:

    “but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers and sisters”…

    The Bible teaches us that whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:50).

    Rick Warren is spiritually blind and serves after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24). He is a false teacher and a blind guide who has transformed himself into an apostle of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Rick Warren’s father is spoken of in John 8:43-45.

    For a better understanding of the mysteries of God we invite you to read the article ‘Rick Warren ~ pastor of Saddleback Church’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain the deep hidden mysteries of God and how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    The Word of God is God (John1:1), it is truth and there is no lie in it (Hebrews 6:18).

    Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).

    http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

    February 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer makes you kneel to sicko guys who wear expensive dresses and abuse kids.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses and prevents you from thinking.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit including your own sick blog URL.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 11, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • .....

      CULT ALERT this poster is a TROLL on this site and they are complete LIARS! They are only here to peddle their garbage website and book, click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      February 11, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • .....

      "Rick Warren is spiritually blind and serves after an image of a false god and a false Christ "

      LIE

      February 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • AvdBerg

      .......

      Rick Warren along with yourself don't know what spirit you are of as you are spiritually blind (Luke 9:55).

      For this reason our message remains the same: Ye must repent.

      Please study what it means as it means a lot more than what by nature you have been made to believe.

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      February 11, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • .....

      "Rick Warren along with yourself don't know what spirit you are of as you are spiritually blind"

      You don't know me at all again you are LYING!

      Thanks for proving why you are so BLINDED to your own arrogance you LIE to support your point of view. That's why all you are peddling is garbage!

      February 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • AvdBerg

      .......

      You judge after the flesh (John 8:15), the believers judge after the spirit of man. Eventhough we don't know your name we know you and what spirit you are of (Luke 9:55).

      He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      February 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • .....

      "You judge after the flesh (John 8:15), the believers judge after the spirit of man. Eventhough we don't know your name we know you and what spirit you are of "

      No you don't – and to use scripture in anther LIE – just shows the stupidity of who you are and what a LIAR you are!

      February 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  11. Kebos

    Of course Warren stands united with Catholics. His crackpot religion needs control. To stand against another crackpot religion as big in the US as Catholiciam is, would totally undermine him.Warren is no idiot. He's controlling and power hungry but he's no idiot.

    February 11, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • AGuest9

      How else would he sell all of those books at Walmart?

      February 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Fia

      Hey JoAnn, Remeber that satan will come to you as an angel of the light to confuse you to keep you away from our Lord Farher. The Lord will not keep you from the curch buseace there you will learn to know him better! So in the name of Lord Jesus I cover you in the blood of the holy father! and I rebuke the spirit that stands in the way of you and the Lord. Amen

      May 19, 2012 at 4:30 am |
  12. John Stefanyszyn

    President Obama's Strategy in Gaining "Women's Right" Vote.

    --------------------------–

    The HHS regulation created a controversy in which the Catholic leaders claimed an interference on freedom of religion and conscience.
    ...however statistic showed that the majority of Catholic women do take a contraceptive.

    ...it also created a controversy from women organizations that it was their freedom and right to have access to this coverage.

    Now we see that President Obama has made a compromise because he believes and said that....
    "No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works,"
    and that Americans would not have to choose between "religious liberty and basic fairness".

    This controversy has stirred up the cry from the Catholic Leaders for freedom of religious rights.
    This controversy has stirred up the cry from women for their rights.
    President Obama believes in the rights of religious liberty.
    President Obama believes in the rights of women.

    President Obama will get the "freedom" vote from the women because he stood up for women's welfare rights.

    President Obama will also get the "Catholic" vote because he made a compromise that respects the right of freedom of religion.

    The Catholic Church may suffer membership loss because of the perception that they were against women's right to contraception.

    Since the President and his counsellors were probably well aware of the loophole which made the compromise possible, why did he not present this alternative at the introduction of the regulation?

    ...because it would not have created the cry for rights, equality, and freedom...the belief that he has advanced and believes in.

    ...glorification of the "god of fortresses" in the place of the One True Creator God, in the place of One True Way of Life, the Christ, Son of God.

    February 11, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Aristocles

      Membership loss? We "only" have 1 in 4 Americans, and millions of Catholics immigrate to the US every decade, and we have a higher birthrate than the national average. That the Bishops can twist Obama's arm and force him to compromise is a sign of power, not weakness.

      Catholics and Evangelicals don't get along well. Evangelicals call us papists and think us corrupt, Catholics think Evangelicals are frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics who don't believe in evolution and are known for corruption on TV (televangelist scandals).

      Of course, atheists are even more corrupt than either church, have been known to commit the worst atrocities, and still have reverence for a dead ideology (Communism). The reason they still have power is because they control much of the media, they put themselves in power when their ideology was considered viable, and they have large networks of patronage and support (corrupt unions, PACs supported by Hollywood millionaires, welfare-for-votes systems in inner cities, etc). The Hollywood one is sickest of all; it's letting people who have a tenuous grip on reality dictate a large portion of public policy, or make movies and other media that influence the public one way or another to support something they would never even consider otherwise.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Granit

      That's an astute answer to a tricky qusetoin

      May 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    February 11, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • Nope

      *The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."""""`~~~~

      February 11, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • nope

      nope .

      February 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Stan Livingston

    I do not understand why the same people who cry "separation of church and state" when any religious person or organization crosses over into the public sector have no issues with government mandates levied on religious organizations. Isn't this a double standard? If a Catholic Hospital refuses to supply birth control or abortion services, because of their beleifs, any woman seeking such services can take the same action available to anyone when a business does not satisfy their needs...go somewhere else.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  15. God is for morons

    What is it with Americans and religion ? The rest of the civilised world stopped taking religion seriously 100 years ago, why is it taking America so long to catch up ? Why can't you just be normal, like Europeans ? Baffling...

    February 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Keith

      Yeah! They are definetly more civilized. Just look at the riots in Greece and Spain. And let's not forget those two little disputes called, WW l and WW ll-courtesy of the civilized Europeans. Who's the moron here?

      February 11, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Europeans may not be attending church but they are not atheists either. Even in former Warsaw Pact areas religion is recovering. Materialism is more responsible for church decline than atheism or agnosticism. Wherever church leaders make the effort the Europeans respond just like Americans.

      February 11, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Aristocles

      So, the atheistic government of China is more civilized than the US? How about the Khmer Rouge?

      February 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.