A Republican running for Congress equated the Affordable Care Act's mandate that employers cover contraceptives as a preventive benefit with forcing people to serve hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
Monte Shaw, the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, is considered a frontrunner in the Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) in the state's 3rd District.
Shaw made the comparison in response to a question about whether “in health care and other areas of American life … it’s OK for the federal government to make religious institutions accommodate employee views that conflict with the institution’s views.”
Our rights come from God, and the Constitution is there to protect them. And it’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, 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 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 no choice but to print up handbills for a neo-Nazi rally. Or an African-American artist had no choice but had to paint a portrait of the local grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The outrage would be out there. And I would be joining that outrage. But I’m just as outraged that the government thinks they can tell our religious institutions that they have to provide services that run exactly counter to their religious beliefs. That violates the Constitution and we must fight it.
The debate was sponsored by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative nonprofit.
Local Democrats immediately decried Shaw's remarks, calling him "disconnected from reality."
"The women of Iowa have seen Monte Shaw’s true colors," Christina Freundlich, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party, said in a statement Thursday. "He fits the mold of right wing Republicans who are so disconnected from reality they don’t believe women should be able to make their own health care decisions. Monte Shaw should immediately apologize for his irresponsible and out of touch comments. Monte Shaw is just the latest Republican to race to the right in the primary, proof that he’s more interested in catering to the reckless Tea Party fringe than protecting the rights of Iowa women.”
Whoever wins the Republican nomination June 3 will face Democrat Staci Appel in November in a district that President Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012.