Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver thinks the fake “wars” need to stop. On both sides of the political aisle. That means Republicans lambasting President Barack Obama for a “war on religion.” That also means Democrats accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women.”
Cleaver was on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, where he was challenged by Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, after he said it was patently “absurd” that Obama has declared a war on religion.
“Congressman, is it similarly wrong then for Democrats to say that the Republican Party is engaged in a ‘war on women?’ Is that wrong?” Reed asked Cleaver.
“Yes, that is wrong. And I’ve never said it. Not one time,” Cleaver said.
“What we need is for you and me — and I’m willing to do it, and I don’t think you would—but when that happens, do what I do. I condemn it,” Cleaver said. “If it’s a Democrat, if it’s my cousin, it’s wrong. And I think we need to stop that. It is damaging, divided politic and it is further separating the people in this country.”
Reed wouldn’t back up on his own assertion that the President is creating a “hostile” environment for religion in the country. He said he was glad to see Cleaver condemn it, but he has seen people closer to Obama push the message of a so-called “war on women.”
It’s a theme that has been plugged by those as high up as Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who called Republicans “callous” toward women after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quietly repealed an equal-pay law.
Of course, the Republican National Committee has just about completely missed the point, blasting an email entitled, “They Said It! Democrat Rep. Says There Isn’t A GOP War On Women.”
Obama’s perceived “war on religion” has been decried by the Republican presidential candidates, with Rick Perry directly using the term in a January debate when he was still in the race.
Here’s Cleaver, a United Methodist Church pastor, with more rational thoughts on the hyperbole of both statements:
“We’ve gone way too far with all of this — ‘the president has declared war on religion.’ That is absurd. The Chinese have declared war on religion. The Iranians have declared war on religion. And I think when we exaggerate things like that, it further polarizes the country.”
Watch the full video below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.