In an interview with KNWA in Fayetteville, Rep. Tom Cotton commented on Sen. Mark Pryor‘s faith in response to a question about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. Cotton was asked what the ruling meant. Here’s his response:
It’s another example of how Obamacare infringes on the liberties of all Arkansans. Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11:00 on Sunday mornings. That’s when we worship but faith is what we live every single day. And the government shouldn’t infringe on the rights of religious liberty. So I’m pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling but it’s just another example of why Obamacare is bad for Arkansas.
You can see Cotton’s full interview here (the clip above was created by Pryor’s deputy campaign manager Erik Dorey). Pryor, of course, has long been public about his devout Christian faith — in a recent ad, Pryor, a four-time co-chair of the National Prayer Breakfast, called the Bible his “compass” and his “North Star.”
In a statement, Pryor suggested that Cotton was questioning his faith and called it a “deeply personal attack”:
I’m disappointed in Congressman Cotton’s deeply personal attack on me. He and I may disagree on issues, but for him to question my faith is out of bounds. From a young age I have never shied away from talking about the importance of God in my life, and it’s my Christian faith that gives me comfort and guidance to be a steady voice for Arkansas in the Senate.
Dorey called for Cotton to personally apologize:
Congressman Cotton owes an apology not just to Mark Pryor, but to all Arkansans of faith who can disagree reasonably about matters of policy without stooping so low as to question someone’s fundamental values.
The Pryor campaign also highlighted comments from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee last December after Pryor’s Bible advertisement:
I would never question at all Mark Pryor’s faith, because I happen to know first hand from my conversations with him that his faith is very real. He’s very committed as a Christian believer. He believes the Bible.
I have reached out to the Cotton campaign for comment and will update if they respond.
UPDATE: Never heard back, but Cotton sent a statement to The Hill and is not backing down from his comments:
Senator Pryor is a man of faith, which I respect. That’s why it’s so disappointing that Senator Pryor still defends Obamacare even after the Supreme Court said it violated freedom of religion. Senator Pryor supports taxpayer funding for abortion and would force Christians to pay for abortions despite their deeply held religious beliefs. That’s a real attack on faith.
He also sent a similar comment to the Washington Times:
Sen. Pryor is a man of faith and practices it with commendable openness, which I respect, but I wish he would respect Arkansans’ right to practice our faith. Instead, Sen. Pryor and President Obama still defend Obamacare even after the Supreme Court said it violated freedom of religion. Sen. Pryor supports taxpayer-funded abortion and late-term abortion and would force Christians to pay for abortions despite their deeply held religious beliefs. That’s a real attack on faith.
That’s not accurate about taxpayer funding for abortion unless Cotton considers IUDs or the morning after pill to be abortion, which perhaps he does (though Arkansas Right to Life does not). Obamacare follows the Hyde amendment which makes exceptions for rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother; it’s also possible that Cotton is objecting to those exceptions.
UPDATE II: The Huckster, happy to get some press, issues a statement saying he supports Cotton and thinks Obamacare is terrible.