Mark Pryor is in the fight of his political life against Tom Cotton in what has become one of the reddest states in the country, and also one of the most religious states in the country. It is no coincidence then that Pryor has been seen holding a Bible and saying the word “Jesus” more often than a revival preacher in a tent. Pryor’s first ad of the campaign season focused literally on nothing more than how much he loved the Bible, as seen here (imagine, if you will, the Democrat freakout if a Republican ran such an ad):
Pryor has continued to lean on appeals to his personal Christianity heavily throughout the campaign, and has gone apoplectic at any suggestion that his voting record is not exactly consistent with with that of a strong Christian.
Unfortunately for Mark Pryor, an opportunity arose this week to prove that he has even the most marginal allegiance to the Bible or religion of any kind, and he failed it miserably. I’m talking, of course, about Harry Reid’s cynical attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which said that closely held corporations have the religious liberty to not pay for abortifacients in accordance with their religious beliefs. Again, the issue is not whether women had the right to have access to these abortifacients, but rather whether their employers can be compelled, over their religious objections, to become complicit in medical abortions by paying for them.
Here, at last, is a test of whether Mark Pryor means even a single word of what he says with respect to Christianity. Part of being even a marginal Christian is respecting the right of other Christians to practice their religion freely within reasonable bounds. And Mark Pryor spectacularly failed that test, voting for cloture on Reid’s bill and siding with abortion extremists and anti-religious totalitarians. As I said at the time about the Hobby Lobby ruling:
The force that can be brought to bear by today’s government – both Federal and State – is terrifying to behold. Taxes, fines, fees, criminal sanctions can grind companies out of existence and ruin individuals. To say nothing of the legal fees that can be incurred by companies and individuals fighting even the most meritless of government claims. A principal tenet of life in a free democracy is that a man should only fear being trodden underfoot by the State behemoth for legitimate reasons connected with the survival of the state itself or its citizens. A country in which the State is used as an arbitrary score settler – or worse, as an enforcer of political or cultural orthodoxy – is not a free State and its citizens are not truly free. In the final analysis, it does not matter if the specific arbiters of the orthodoxy to be enforced are democratically elected; if minority viewpoints are not allowed to exist, flourish, and be practiced without fear of State sanction, totalitarianism is imminent if not already present.
If Mark Pryor wants Tom Cotton to stop questioning his faith, maybe he should stop siding with the government against the free exercise of religion.