MSNBC's Bashir Blows Smoke Over Obama Contraception Mandate in Newt-Bashing 'Clear the Air'

While most in the liberal media are downright ignoring President Obama's attack on religious institutions -- via the mandate that they cover contraceptives in their health insurance plans, even if doing so violates church teaching -- MSNBC's Martin Bashir mentioned the issue in today's "Clear the Air" commentary that closes his eponymous program.

Of course, true to MSNBC form, Bashir ignored the legitimate policy and religious liberty implications of Gingrich's complaint to dredge up Gingrich's past moral failings, namely his adulteries, as a way of fatally wounding the messenger and hence, Bashir hopes, negating the message [MP3 audio available here; video posted below page break]:


MARTIN BASHIR: It’s now time to clear the air and in the world of the Republican primaries, our most bitter presidential candidate – Newt Gingrich – is back doing what he loves best: accusing the president of being hateful of religion.

This time, it’s the issue of contraception and the idea that, under the president’s reform of health care, all hospitals, including religious institutions, will be required to provide contraception.

But to hear Newt Gingrich on the subject, well, this is a declaration of war by the president.

NEWT GINGRICH from February 5 Meet the Press: "You know he’s basically declared war on the Catholic Church. The fact is – what you’re saying is there cannot be a genuinely Catholic University, there cannot be a genuinely Catholic hospital that in fact, it will have to be subordinated to the rules of a secular government."

BASHIR: What’s interesting about Gingrich is the way he sounds so theologically robust. But one wonders if Mr. Gingrich was using the rhythm method himself when he was committing adultery with his Catholic mistress Callista. You see, here's the problem, the vast majority of Catholics and evangelicals in America actually use contraception.

According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual and reproductive health, among sexually active women, 68 percent of Catholics are using a highly effective method of birth control, such as the pill, sterilization or an IEUD [sic]. The figure is 73 percent for mainline Protestants and 74 percent for evangelicals. But according to Newt Gingrich, the president is waging a war against religion.

Of course, Newt knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s desperately trying to gloss over his serial adultery and multiple marriages and to now sound like a man who’s standing firm on Scripture and tradition.

But which version of the Bible does Newt Gingrich actually follow?

Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the first publication – in 1611 – of the King James version of the Bible. It remains one of the most pre-eminent books in the English language.

Thirty years [sic] later, in 1631, the royal printers in London were asked to produce a reprint. Everything went well, apart from a single mistake. The compositors accidentally omitted the word "not" from the Seventh Commandment. So, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," became "thou shalt commit adultery."

And while I cannot be certain, I have a sneaking suspicion that Newt Gingrich much prefers the 1631 King James version, above all others.

Bashir, himself a practicing Christian and a formerly serious journalist, should know better. Shame on him.

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