A Florida Republican told right-wing Christian Tony Perkins that he was personally offended to hear President Barack Obama talk about religious freedom.
Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) appeared Friday on “Washington Watch” to discuss the president’s remarks the day before at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“I am stunned by the hypocrisy of what I’m hearing,” Southerland said.
The pro-life lawmaker said he was particularly outraged that Obama would discuss human dignity despite mandating contraception coverage through employer-based health care plans.
“Based on the actions of this administration and the actions of this man, to insult those who really believe those words — just don’t believe the messenger of those words — and to trivialize our deeply held beliefs by making statements that are so contrary to his actions and those of his administration is the ultimate disrespect,” Southerland said.
The president reaffirmed his commitment last month, on the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, to protecting women’s right to safe, affordable health care, reproductive freedom, and privacy, and Obama also resolved to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
But Southerland said he was outraged when the president said just two weeks later that each person was “’wonderfully made’ in the image of God,” and with “inherent dignity” based on the freedom of religion.
“When talking about the dignity that can’t be taken away – look when a child is robbed of life, they are robbed of that very dignity and I’m kind of stunned that I’m hearing him,” Southerland said.
Perkins jumped in, saying the president’s prayer breakfast speech could have been delivered by Southerland himself – but quickly added the caveat that the Republican lawmaker had an anti-abortion voting record.
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