Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush accused President Barack Obama's administration of trying to stifle religious freedom during an appearance at Liberty University in Virginia on Saturday, The Hill reported.
"Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn't the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith," Bush said in a transcript of his speech at Liberty's commencement ceremony. "Federal authorities are demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience. And in a free society, the answer is 'No.'"
Bush said it was strange to hear Christianity described as a "backwards destructive force," and accused the White House of employing "coercive federal power" against Christians.
"Our friends on the left like to view themselves as the agents of reform," he said. "And you and I are just supposed to get with the program. There are consequences when you don't genuflect to the latest secular dogmas."
The former governor, a potential GOP presidential candidate, placed seventh in a poll of likely Iowa caucus voters, garnering the support of 5 percent of respondents.
Watch footage of Bush's remarks, as posted by NBC News on Saturday, below.