Imaginary TSA ‘waivers’

Updated
 
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) is the one with the sign.
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) is the one with the sign.
Associated Press

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) is working with the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by radical TV preacher Pat Robertson, to challenge the Obama administration’s policy on access to contraception. To defend his efforts, Landry appeared yesterday on the ACLJ’s radio show, and presented a curious argument.

Landry maintained that the Obama administration is showing its “hypocrisy” by mandating that religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities cover contraception in their health insurance plans while also “granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.”

The congressman’s allegation that the Obama administration is giving Muslim passengers “special rights as they go through the TSA screening” doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality, as the TSA on its website gives no mention of religious exemptions and TSA administrator John Pistole testified that anyone who wants to avoid a pat down based on religious reasons is “not going to get on an airplane.”

Obama’s giving “waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings”? That struck me as a new one.

I spoke this morning to the congressman’s press office, who questioned whether Landry actually used the word “waiver” – the audio is quite clear on this – and told me the congressman was actually referring to Muslim “headscarves.”

First, the administration is not giving “waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.” They’re also not making exceptions for those wearing headscarves.

Second, there’s nothing “hypocritical” about requiring insurers to cover contraception – with an exemption for all houses of worship – while also screening passengers on airplanes.

The policy debate over contraception access really isn’t going well.

Imaginary TSA 'waivers'

Updated