Steve Fitzgerald, a Republican candidate for the Kansas state Senate who previously had said that Catholics should not be Democrats, extended that attack on Saturday: He pointed the finger at Catholics and other Christians who voted for those lawmakers who supported the Affordable Care Act.
Fitzgerald used an almost eight-minute address at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally in Kansas City to attack the Affordable Care Act and to advocate a stronger role for religion in government. Earlier this month, he had told the Polish American Club in Kansas City that Catholics should not be members of the Democratic Party because the party does not follow biblical teachings. Fitzgerald is challenging Sen. Kelly Kultala (D-Kansas City) in a competitive race.
"We got here today because a majority of Catholics voted for those who are against our values, who vote against our values," Fitzgerald said Saturday. "We got here today because of Christians of every denomination who were not registered to vote, did not vote or did not inform their conscience before they voted. We got here today because the church, the body of Christ on earth, did not instruct sufficiently, did not exhort sufficiently, did not inform sufficiently, did not stand up as the body of Christ is charged to do."
Fitzgerald did not specifically lay out the role he believes churches should play in elections.
The audience cheered him on. The Kansas City Star reported that a total of 13 people spoke at the rally, which was part of a national series of religious freedom rallies over the weekend.
Saying that the words "be not afraid" appear in the Bible 360 times, Fitzgerald urged his listeners not to be afraid and then turned to the health care law.
"We are told the gates of hell should not prevail against the church on earth. We are meeting the gates of hell, the seat of evil," he said before pausing and continuing. "The Affordable Care Act is not about insurance. It is not about health care. It is about power."
Noting that the health care law passed Congress based on Democratic votes and is being implemented by a Democratic administration in Washington, he described the legislation as an example of one-party control and said the country needs a "two-party system." Last week, Fitzgerald had told HuffPost that his comments to the Polish American Club were likewise meant to advocate for the two-party system.
On Saturday, he said that freedom was lost when the Affordable Care Act passed. "Every time that has happened is through the rise of extremist factions in a political party," he said, mentioning fascists and communists.
He told the audience that Christians have a responsibility to "inform ourselves" before voting in the next election.
Fitzgerald did not return multiple messages left for comment about his remarks Saturday.
Kultala told HuffPost that she is "not surprised" by Fitzgerald's most recent remarks, which she said she had watched on video. She added that it is not the church's role to tell people how to vote.
Last week, she told HuffPost she believed Fitzgerald's earlier comments were a "direct slam" at her since she is both a Democrat and a Catholic. Fitzgerald also told HuffPost last week that he questioned Kultala's faith because, he said, she does not vote based on the Bible, to which Kultala also took offense.
"He's trying to make it sound that you are only truly faithful if you are a right-wing Republican. That's not right," she said last week.
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