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Pastors to Akin: Say You're Sorry

Area ministers, including one from Manchester, hand delivered a letter to Rep. Todd Akin's office Wednesday asking that he apologize for his recent statement about liberalism.

Ministers in U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's second district, including one from Manchester, delivered a letter to Akin's office Wednesday asking him to apologize for saying a "hatred of God" informs liberal beliefs.

The Rev. Kevin Gregory, with  in Manchester, is one of nine ministers who signed the letter.The Riverfront Times notes that most are pastors at United Church of Christ congregations.

In a recent radio interview with the Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Akin, a Republican, said he believes that "at the heart of liberalism, really, is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God."

Akin was discussing NBC's redaction of "under God" from its broadcast of the pledge of allegiance during the U.S. Open on June 19.

Akin released a statement on Tuesday in response to the outcry at his remarks. In the statement, he said his comments weren't directed at individuals but rather Liberalism as a political movement.

"If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies," he said.

“My point was to object to the systematic assault that attempts to remove any reference to God from the public square.

“NBC’s recent action only highlighted the continuing battle for those of us who believe that removing references to God go contrary to the Judeo-Christian heritage our nation was founded on—the belief that our inalienable rights come from God himself and the freedom to live our lives and worship as we see fit.”

That statement didn't satisfy local religious leaders, though. On Wednesday, a group of ministers in Akin's district delivered a letter to his office asking him to apologize for his statement.

"Such insulting pronouncements degrade our nation’s political dialogue and are unworthy of a public servant who claims to represent the interests of all of his constituents," the letter said.

The letter also asked Akin to "reconsider…(his) moral priorities as a political leader," in reference to his support of a federal budget proposal that calls for cuts to state Medicaid programs. Those cuts, along with others in the proposal, would hurt the poor, they said.

Rev. Dale Bartels, senior pastor at  in Chesterfield, also signed the letter. He said a handful of the pastors went to Akin's office in Manchester Wednesday to hand deliver the letter. Akin's office said in a news release Wednesday morning that they learned Tuesday that the pastors intended to deliver the letter in person. Akin's schedule did not allow for a meeting, the release said, so Steve Taylor, Akin's director of communications, met with the pastors.

"We made the point that we would like to talk to (Akin) sometime," Bartels said. Bartels said the pastors will try to meeting with Akin in person soon.

Read the full text of the letter from pastors to Akin, as reported by the Huffington Post:

As Missourians of faith, we found your statement that "at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God and a belief that government should replace God" to be ignorant and offensive. Scripture clearly warns us to “judge not, lest ye be judged,” yet you condemn in disrespectful, stereotypical terms those with whom you disagree. Such insulting pronouncements degrade our nation’s political dialogue and are unworthy of a public servant who claims to represent the interests of all of his constituents.

And in light of your support for a federal budget that mainstream faith leaders have overwhelmingly condemned as punitive toward the poorest among us, we call on you to reconsider not only your words, but also your moral priorities as a political leader. Accusing others of being inspired by hatred of God while you vote to deprive the weakest and most vulnerable of medicine and basic sustenance is the antithesis of moral leadership. We call on you to apologize, and we pray that you are moved to act in a spirit of civility, compassion and justice in the future.

Read the full text of Akin's statement apologizing for his comments on the radio show:

(Tuesday), Congressman Akin released the following statement regarding his interview with Tony Perkin’s regarding NBC’s redaction of “under God” from its broadcast of the pledge of allegiance during the U.S. Open.

People, who know me and my family, know that we take our faith and beliefs very seriously. As Christians, we would never question the sincerity of anyone’s personal relationship with God. My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, Liberalism not at any specific individual. If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies.

My point was to object to the systematic assault that attempts to remove any reference to God from the public square.

NBC’s recent action only highlighted the continuing battle for those of us who believe that removing references to God go contrary to the Judeo-Christian heritage our nation was founded on—the belief that our inalienable rights come from God himself, and the freedom to live our lives and worship as we see fit.


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