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On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Congressman Akin on C-SPAN

U.S. Congressman Todd Akin from Missouri says he’s not surprised at the firestorm of criticism he’s gotten after telling a Christian radio program that  “at the heart of liberalism, really, is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”

Monday, a spokesman for his U.S. Senate campaign said the Congressman was speaking “off the cuff.” Staffer Steve Taylor said the point that Akin was trying to make was that conservatives believe rights are granted by God and it is the responsibility of government to aid in protecting them. On the other hand, he said, “liberals believe rights are granted by government.”

Congressman with his son, a U.S. Marine in Iraq

“Congressman Akin believes those two concepts define the basic debate between the two ideologies,” said Tayler. With more time to articulate his point, Taylor said, Congressman Akin could have “provided a more artful answer.” Furthermore, Akin wasn’t talking about anyone’s individual relationship with God, Taylor said, only the “defining principles of two political ideologies.”

The comments came Friday as Akin was talking with the Family Research Council radio show about NBC-TV’s editing “under God, indivisible” out of the Pledge of Allegiance during their coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament. Akins told the show’s host, Tony Perkins, “Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.” Akin went on to say that NBC’s editing was part of “a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”

Akin

Amid the ensuing firestorm, the Congressman told St. Louis radio station KMOX “I don’t think there’s anything to apologize for. I’m not going to apologize for what I see liberalism doing.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a story Monday in which they quoted a Jewish rabbi and a Unitarian minister — both who were offended by the Congressman’s comments. Rabbi Jim Bennett of Congregation Shaare Emeth in St. Louis said he was “deeply disturbed” by Akin’s statement, which he characterized as a “grotesque politicized attack.” The Rev. Krista Taves of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville, Missouri, said Akin’s comment “shows how very little he knows about liberals, and how very little he knows about God.”

“I’m a liberal because I love God and all God’s creation,” said Taves, whose church is in Akin’s district. “I value equality, fairness and compassionate justice because my faith informs my politics.”

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