Al Sharpton and the co-hosts of "Morning Joe" got into a meaty debate about the Obama administration's new mandate on contraception on Monday's show.
The new rule will require religiously-affiliated employers such as universities and hospitals to cover full birth control services to female employees. The decision has angered some conservatives and Catholic groups.
On Monday, Joe Scarborough was concerned that the ruling imposed on the rights of religious institutions. He asked, "If the federal government can do this to the Catholic church, can they not do this to any church?"
Sharpton disagreed. He argued that people should be able to work for religiously-affiliated employers without subscribing to the beliefs of those institutions. "If i want to seek employment and have employment in a church but I disagree with the dogma and theology of the church, do I have the right to be protected by the law?" he said.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski, who is Catholic, was against the ruling. The MSNBC host pointed out, "You're asking [institutions] not to be Catholic if you impose certain regulations of them." She called the ruling "wrong" and an "overstep" by the government.
Sharpton raised the fact that Catholic institutions receive government funding. "Why are you allowing government resources to be used based on the brief of the church?" he argued. "If you're giving a Catholic hospital money, you should be aware of how it will be used," Brzezsinki argued. "It will be used in the way the Catholic hospital believes respects what the Catholic Church is about."
"What about the right of people who don't agree with the theology of whoever?" Sharpton asked. "If you are offended by the theology of the Catholic church, then do not work for a Catholic institution," Scarborough countered.