Romney ad hits Obama for 'war on religion'
August 9th, 2012
07:53 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney ad hits Obama for 'war on religion'

(CNN) – After weeks of attacking President Barack Obama's economic record, Mitt Romney took a sharply different tack Thursday in his latest television ad, going after the president for policies the Republican challenger amounts to a "war on religion."

In the spot, which also features footage from Romney's trip in July to Poland, an announcer says Obama's heath care law forces religious institutions to "go against their faith."

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"Who shares your values?" the announcer asks. "President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. Mitt Romney believes that's wrong."

In a press release that accompanied the ad, the campaign justifies the "war on religion" claim using an editorial published in the San Antonio Express News in February, as a political firestorm waged over a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans.

The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.

After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, Obama announced an accommodation to the rule on February 10. Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.

A poll taken in March by the Public Religion Research Institute showed a majority of Americans - 54% - said religiously affiliated colleges and universities should be required to provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception.

Romney's thirty-second ad, titled "Be Not Afraid," does not directly reference the contraception rule, or the subsequent accommodation from the Obama adminstration.

After the "war on religion" segment, the ad uses a clip of Romney speaking in Poland.

"In 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire: 'Be not afraid,'" Romney is showed saying.

"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?" the announcer asks.

Romney's speech in Warsaw marked his last public remarks on a week long, three-country foreign swing in July that was meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials. The trip also brought the candidate to London and Israel - two stops marred by stumbles, including a suggestion that the organizers of the London Olympics were ill prepared to host the 2012 Games. In Israel, his remarks in support of the Jewish state provoked an angry response from Palestinian leaders. But his stop in Poland was largely free of any major gaffe from the candidate.

In Thursday's ad, Romney is shown meeting with Lech Walesa, the shipyard worker who went on to inspire the Solidarity trade union and the eventual fall of the Iron Curtain. When Romney was in Poland, Walesa effectively endorsed him for president.

Romney's ad Thursday could be seen as a direct appeal to Catholic voters, who according to national exit polls went for Obama over Sen. John McCain in 2008 54%-45%. Organizations of Catholic bishops have led the charge against the contraception provision in Obama's heath care law.

Obama, who was campaigning in Colorado Wednesday, also subtly harkened back to February's debate over contraception. He was introduced by Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke, who was at the center of the controversy earlier this year after testifying to Congress about the importance of providing birth control to employees of religiously affiliated institutions.

Responding to the Romney ad, an Obama spokeswoman defended the president's contraception stance.

“President Obama believes that, in 2012, women should have access to free contraception as part of their health insurance, and he has done so in a way that respects religious liberty," Lis Smith wrote. "Churches are completely exempt and religiously affiliated organizations that object to providing the service will never have to pay for contraception. Mitt Romney apparently disagrees with this approach and it’s no surprise why. He has pledged to ‘get rid of’ of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and would take women’s health back to the 1950’s. Women can’t afford his extreme policies."

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Filed under: Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Religion
soundoff (420 Responses)
  1. 1twinswin

    So coverage for viagra and cialis is church approved but coverage for gestational diabetes is against a religious order?

    August 9, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    ""Forcing a Catholic to pay for contraception for an employee sounds like an attack on religious freedom to me. "

    Since when can corporations be Catholic?

    Actually, I should elaborate on that: since when can REGULAR corporations be catholic?

    See, Obama has exempted the ones that truly are religious. But how is it that, say, Microsoft or Google have any religious denomination or affiliation at all. THE CORPORATION is paying for the employees' insurance NOT THE OWNER. People create corporations and corporations are gifted the legal fiction of "personhood" so that the owners, shareholders, et al, can claim that this is an entirely separate entity from themselves and thereby shield their personal assets from the liabilities of the corporation. If all that is true, they can't claim that the corporation has a religion at all, unless it was organized specifically as such and falls under the proper statutory sections, in which case it already liekly falls into the exemptions.

    However, I'd like to see a corporate charter that says "the purpose of this corporation is to research, develop, manufacture and sell computer components in the name of Jesus Christ." Followed of course by "oh, but it's against our corporate charter to ____" (insure for contraception, employ muslims, sell computers to Planned Parenthood, etc. etc.). Bull pucky.

    August 9, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. VistaPoint

    Another Lie.

    August 9, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. korkea aika

    Do you know what is so ironic about people against 'Obamacare'? There are lots of good people out there who THINK they have good healthcare coverage. ONLY when they go to use it, the find out that it doesn't cover most costs, and has a lifetime cap of $1M. After $1M, there is NO coverage. So Obamacare ended that type of corporate behaviour. But people don't appreciate it, becasue they haven't had the problem (yet). So in time, the American people will see that Obamacare was a life saver. And reduced overall medical costs too. But the majority don't understand that yet.

    August 9, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. zaggs

    I notice CNN fails to point out that the Obama administration lost the first federal court ruling in regards to their plan. Their "exception" is anything but as it still forces the religious affiliated company to offer the insurance since it would be the organization's insurance that would offer it. Thats why the catholic bishops are also suing the Obama administration.

    August 9, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "When you are FORCED to fund that which is morally repugnant and clearly contrary to your stated beliefs, it is a direct imposition on your values, faith, and reasoning. '

    They're not forced to fund anything. The insurer is. Mroeover, anything that is being paid for is being paid for BY THE CORPORATION NOT THE OWNER. Corporations generally don't have a "religion." The ones that do and are organized as such under the appropriate statutes...those are exempted. But would you like to explain to the class what "Microsoft's and Google's "religions" are? This is trying to have it both ways. Owners create a corporation to take advantage of the corporate veil...i.e., the legal fiction that the corporation is a separate "person" and that the owner's personal assets are therefore shielded from the corporation's creditors and liabilities. These same owners, shareholders, whoever that want to claim that there's no distinction between themselves and their corporation when it comes to their personal belief system...they'll be claiming that there's no connection at all between themselves and the corporation the first time they find themselves in a lawsuit against the corporation and get named, personally, as a defendant.

    Besides, find me a corporate charter that says "the purpose of this corporation is to research, develop, manufacture and sell computers in the name of Jesus." Would such a corporation have the right not to hire Muslims? To refuse to sell computers to Planned Parenthood? To require prayer time after lunch hour? Where does it end?

    August 9, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The "Welfare" ads, the "Religious" ads, the "Higher taxes" ads, the "Health Care" ads are such outrageous and blatant lies.
    The Koch/Birch Society controlled GOP is out and out trying to lie, buy, and voter-disenfranchise their way into the White House.
    They are doing precisely the same thing that Americans look down their noses and accuse Third World countries of doing.
    How odd.
    Obama 2012. Because the presidency of our country is SACROSANCT.

    August 9, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Dnick47

    The war on the Christian Church is from the anti-Christ. Mormon's are aniti-Christ and Romney is a Mormon.

    August 9, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Thomas

    The real question is, if you were elected president, would you do what's best for your church? Or what is best for the American people? I'm pretty sure this answers that question Mr. Romney.

    August 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. tomnikoly

    Romney is even more inept than I thought.

    August 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. This comment is awaiting liberal moderator censorship.

    Obama only uses religion as a political tool. Th eopiate of the masses. He is NOT religious in any way shape or form. No religious person would EVER say other believers "cling to their guns and religion".

    August 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Arch

    This is not about mormonism or any other specific religion. This is about the lefts general hatred of anything religious and their relentless attack on those liberties.

    August 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. waitaminute

    Really? So they want to open the Mormon coversation such as lying for the advancement of the Mormon cause, celestrial underwear and the whole Jesus was a extraterrestrial from another planet thing? Also all other religions such as catholics not to mention all of others christian bases religions got it wrong?

    August 9, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. hypatia

    How about the 'war' that religion keeps waging on American citizens.

    August 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Viltor

    People can call it moral beliefs all they want, the fact is they are imposing their religious beliefs when they deny health coverage for contraception. That is just plain UNAMERICAN.

    Yeah sometimes we limit peoples rights to make room for the excercise of other's rights. That is how our country works.

    The religious war is coming from the right which wants to impose their religious beliefs.

    August 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Pete in Guilford

    To bad. When I pay my taxes, I'm being forced to pay for any number of things that I find morally repugnant, like useless wars, Republican Congressional paychecks and on and on.

    August 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Walk Among Us

    churches are used as tax shelters. there are plenty of state and federal laws based solely on biblical ideology. "in god we trust" is on our money. to name just a few ways religion is far from being under attack in this country.

    I really wish this fictional war on religion was real. it's time we joined the 21st century.

    August 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    Obama's $6 TRILLION dollar addition to our national debt is equivalent to a war on our childrens futures.
    How could anyone take these people who push outright lies about the President of the United States seriously? Doesn't their religion of choice preach honesty and against slander?

    August 9, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Skeptic72

    I think this strikes a chord because we as Americans shun the thought of interference with our religious freedom. Catholic companies that receive any portion of their budget from tithes (donations from parishioners) should not be required to have health insurance companies that are forced to pay for birth control. The reason, in my opinion, is because then you are subverting the donation to a purpose that is anathema to the religious institution. Also, many, if not all, of the catholic institutions (colleges, hospitals..etc) are self funded for the first "X" amount of insurance, and only after their multi-million dollar "deductible" is used, does a regular insurance company have to pay. are therefore asking a church institution to DIRECTLY pay for birth control, which again, is anathema to their faith. While I am certainly NOT a catholic...(the name says it all), i still believe in an absolute separation between church and state that goes both ways. I dont feel its ok for the church to get into government, and vice versa. Let the catholic church (or any other church) get into the education and hospital business and say "thank you for the excellent service" and leave it at that. If an employee of a catholic hospital wants birth control...let her get another job. We can always "Vote" with our feet.

    August 9, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Obama outsourced jobs with taxpayer money

    Making someone pay for others contraception is Anti-American.

    Democrats = Anti-Americans

    August 9, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. paul

    another etch a sketch

    August 9, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Pam from Iowa

    The only "war on religion" is coming out of the GOP and Tea Party camps!
    You Repubs need to quit trying to shove your cafeteria style so-called religion down our throats!

    August 9, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. scooter

    What a load of BS. There is no war on religion. There is an attack BY religion on civil liberties and freedom. An attempt to force a people, who do not believe, to follow a code set by a faith they do not adhere to. No body is forcing contraception on people. It is the religious who want to limit peoples choices based on their own narrow minds. The other reason that it is BS is that Christians have been practicing birth control, in one form or another, for 2000 years. This is a made up controversy by people who could not care less about God. They just want a vote.

    August 9, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. oldbear60

    The right wing keeps bringing up this issue while ignoring the fact that they and religion wants to run your life to fit their preconvieved notions of what is right and wrong. ALL religions. Religion is personal. Vote YOUR beliefs and conscience and above all what's best for YOU , not the dems or the koch bros- excuse me I mean the republicans or anyone else.

    August 9, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Donkey Party

    What's the difference between Christian law and Sharia law? Apparently, not much at all.

    August 9, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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