A Republican candidate running for U.S. Congress in Iowa drew a comparison between the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate and hate groups like neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan at a debate.
"It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion," candidate Monte Shaw said in response to a question about health care reform and religious liberty. "For the government to step in and say that a religious institution has to provide a good or service that violates their beliefs because they’re Christians is just flat out wrong."
"Think of the outrage that would be out there if they tried to pass a law that said a Jewish printer had to, had no choice but to print up handbills for a neo-Nazi rally," he continued. "Or an African-American artist had no choice but to be, had to paint a portrait of the local Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The outrage would be out there, and I'd be joining that outrage."
"But I’m just as outraged that the government thinks they can tell our religious intuitions that they have to provide services that run exactly counter to their religious beliefs," he added. "That violates the Constitution and we must fight it."
Shaw's response can be heard on this audio recording of the so-called "basement debate," a face-off between the candidates currently vying to be the Republican party's nominee for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Latham.
The debate, sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a decidedly religious tone from the beginning, as the moderator kicked this off by professing faith in Jesus Christ.
Shaw, known as the "agriculture advocate" candidate in some Republican circles, may not be a front-runner in the primary race, having come in fourth in a recent straw poll. But he currently leads the pack from a fundraising perspective with the primary election a little less than a month away.
Other candidates vying for the seat include Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has drawn criticism from civil rights advocates on a national level for his voter suppression efforts, including voter roll purges and voter ID.