Rick Warren, ladies and gentlemen:
Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.
“I don’t have a problem personally with contraception but I support anybody’s right to not have to pay for it if they don’t believe in it,” Warren said on HuffPost Live.
“That’s what I support. That’s called freedom of speech. In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don’t have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it’s not in your faith.”
This is wrongheaded for the following reasons (I’m sure there are others):
1) A kosher deli is an explicitly religious business. The businesses challenging the birth control mandate are not; they are businesses that are owned/run by religious people who want to force those views on their employees.
2) The birth control mandate deals with how a business insures its employees, not the products it may sell. The “business” in which a kosher deli engages is the sale of kosher meat to religious customers. The businesses challenging the mandate aren’t suing because they are being forced to sell birth control. They are suing because they don’t want the health insurance they provide to employees to allow the employees access to birth control. A closer analogy would therefore be to a jewish deli that wanted to be able to prevent its employees from purchasing pork with their wages. I have yet to see such a suit.
3) Perhaps this is my own sensitivity as a Jew, but whenever I hear a Non-Jew leap to analogize a perceived wrong to Christians to a wrong to Jews, I am immediately skeptical. It may not have been Warren’s intent, but what he’s suggesting is that Jews are happy to restrict Christian practices as long as their right to practice as Jews is left alone. I think it also demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be in the religious majority in a country in comparison to being a tiny minority.