Lawmaker Apologizes for Liberal 'Hatred of God' Quip

A Missouri congressman is apologizing for equating liberalism to a “hatred of God" during a radio interview Monday.

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican, was discussing NBC’s recent removal of the words “under God” from a clip of the Pledge of Allegiance during coverage of the U.S. Open.

“Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal, and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God," Akin told radio host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. "This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”

Akin, who is running in the GOP primary for Missouri's senate seat, released a statement Tuesday apologizing for his comments.

Akin, a Christian, expressed that he and his family 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.”

NBC’s removal of the words “under God” has sparked debate from the right and the left about religion's place in public life.

“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,” Akin said.

Akin, who has been a House member since 2000, is running against Sarah Steelman, a former state treasurer, for the GOP nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.