Faith Leaders Visit Akin’s Office: Not Satisfied with Congressman’s “Apology”
In response to Rep. Todd Akin’s recent, insensitive comment that “at the heart of liberalism is a hatred for God,” a group of clergy from Akin’s district visited his office today. In light of his failed attempts to justify his statement yesterday, the group of faith leaders sought a real apology from their Congressman for the disrespect his remarks showed towards their religious commitments. Instead, the Congressman sent a staff person to meet the group, while refusing to address the substance of his offensive remarks.
Rev. Kevin Cameron, senior pastor of Parkway United Church of Christ in St. Louis, described his disappointment with his own Congressman’s remarks:
“Congressman Akin continues to insist that liberalism is anti-religion. As a pastor and a constituent of his, I find this deeply offensive. I hold my liberal political views because of my faith.”
While Akin’s remarks were in reference to a decision by NBC to remove “under god” from a video of people saying the pledge, Rev. Krista Taves, minister of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville, noted that the substance of faith is more than just symbolic displays of belief:
“Congressman Akin needs to understand that there’s more to faith in the public square than mentioning ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance. Akin recently voted for a federal budget that would deprive the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable of healthcare while giving tax giveaways to millionaires. Mainstream people of faith reject these immoral priorities.”
Akin’s comments demonstrate a real lack of understanding of liberal people of faith, including many his constituents. Rev. Jeffrey Whitman, Conference Minister for the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ stated:
“Congressman Akin is dealing in political stereotypes that malign his liberal religious constituents. As a liberal and a person of faith, I’m quite certain that the Congressman is mistaken when he says liberalism is anti-religion.”
The delegation of faith leaders delivered the letter from local clergy expressing concerns about his comments, as well as 200 petition signatures from Missouri members of Faithful America, an online community of people of faith standing up for social justice and the common good.
UPDATE: Progress Missouri has video of the delivery and subsequent press conference here: