Originally published in LifeSiteNews.com
Rick Warren, perhaps the most influential evangelical pastor in America, has tweeted he would “go to jail” rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates God’s commandments.
Pastor Rick Warren, pastor of the 20 000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, tweeted his defiance of the Obama administration’s requirements that religious institutions cover all forms of contraception, including abortifacients like Ella and the IUD, as part of their health care plans.
On Tuesday, Warren addressed the issue three times on his Twitter feed.
“I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a govement [sic.] mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you? Acts 5:29,” he wrote.
The second message quoted that verse of Scripture: “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name” The apostles replied “We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:29
Pastor Warren’s third tweet stated, “I’m not a Catholic but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure.”
Warren has been called “America’s most influential spiritual leader” and “America’s Pastor.” His 2002 book, The Purpose Driven Life, sold more than 30 million copies.
Warren’s words come as a particularly stinging indictment to Barack Obama, who chose Warren to give the invocation at his presidential inauguration in January 2009.
Warren’s comments come as part of a flurry of evangelical condemnation of the mandate, which goes into effect for religious institutions in 2013.
On Wednesday, Dr Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and one of Time magazine’s “Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” told LifeSiteNews.com “we will not comply” with the mandate.
“We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,” Dr Land told LifeSiteNews.
Dr Land urged all Southern Baptist pastors to “preach from the pulpit just how serious and dangerous this initiative by the Obama administration is,” and “encourage their parishioners to contact their congressmen and their senators and the president and let them know how deeply unhappy they are with this decision.”
Dr Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said evangelical Christians may be required to face imprisonment over the issue last Tuesday, announcing on his daily podcast, “You at least have to admire the courage of the Roman Catholic bishops in saying they are willing to go to jail rather than to comply with this. How many evangelical presidents and pastors and leaders would be willing to do the same?”
“We’re going to find out in coming months,” he warned.
Numerous Orthodox and Protestant churches have joined Roman Catholics in stating the provision, adopted as part of the president’s health care reform bill, violates religious liberty and undermines the First Amendment.