"I believe that today's hearing is a sham," Connolly told a panel of one priest, three pastors, and a Jewish rabbi during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing today. "Here you are being asked to testify about your rights being trampled on -- an overstatement if there ever was one -- while you're on a panel, and your participation on the panel makes you complicit in of course the trampling of freedom, because we were denied, on this side of the aisle, any witness who might have a differing point of view. And I think that's shameful."
...Continuing his monologue, Connolly made a harsh rebuke of the religious leaders. "I say to you, as a member of this committee who actually shared the concerns you say you have last week, that I think this is a shameful exercise," he said. "And I am very sad you have chosen to participate and be used the way you're being used. Just as you were in the previous questioning, as if people are going to jail over this. Shame! Everybody knows that's not true." The church leaders had agreed, before Connolly spoke, that they would prefer to go to jail rather than violate their consciences by providing contraception and abortifacients to women.
Denouncing Republicans for trying to hurt President Obama politically, Connolly faulted the assembled ministers for "overstating [the religious freedom issues in the mandate] and making charges that are just outlandish and frankly beyond the pale." Such testimony "serves no purpose other than political demagoguery in an election year," he said. "And men and women of the cloth, it seems to me, ought to run not walk away from that line."
Video from Gateway Pundit:
The Rev. William Lori told the committee, “It is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich. But it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed up with the coercive power of the state.”
Which is the problem with Connolly and the Dems whole contraception argument. But they're doing it because they think it's a political winner and will distract from their failed President's record.
The real question isn't about religious freedom, it's what kind of religion to people like Connolly.
When he was Chairman of the Fairfax County Virginina Board of Stupidvisors, "Jihad" Gerry oversaw the 2008 renewal of the lease for the Islamic Saudi Academy campus on county owned land in Alexandria, VA. The problem? The ISA has a reputation of breeding Islamic extremism. A 1999 valedictorian of the school was arrested for plotting with al-Queda to kill President Bush. Textbooks were found to contain vilification of Jews and Christians, as well the killing of some non-believers being premissable.
What was Connolly's response? Call those who opposed renewing the school's lease "bigots" in front of the County, say the school was "a good neighbor" and the importance of "diversity." Never mind that a short time later, the school director was arrested for failing to report a sex abuse allegation. Connolly still defended the school, while he was taking money from people with Saudi connections.
Connolly was also invited to an April 2010 a fundraiser for the Dar Al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA. The mosque was where two of the 9/11 hijackers worshipped and where radical (now dead) cleric Anwar Al Awlaki was an Imam. It was not known whether or not he attended the fundraiser.