Religious Freedom on the Line in 2012 Election, FRC President Tony Perkins Says

By Fred Lucas | August 29, 2012 | 10:46 AM EDT

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. (AP photo)

Tampa ( – Religious freedom will be a key issue 2012 election, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told

“I see religious freedom as really a swirling storm, not unlike Isaac that’s been out here in the gulf,” Perkins said. “People are feeling the effects of it. They’re seeing it. The Republican Party platform addresses it. Of course, the president can’t address it, because he is the one who’s facilitating it with his mandate through his health care.”

The Obama administration mandates that all employee-based insurance plans provide free abortifacients, sterilization and contraception as part of the broader health care law.

The rule, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, violates of the conscience of many employers. While there is an exemption just for churches, Christian-based hospitals, schools and charities would still be required to provide the mandate. Opponents of the rule say this violates the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.

Further, individual employers are suing on the basis that it violates their freedom of conscience.

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“We’ve got more companies filing suit against the administration over the health care mandate,” Perkins continued. “So it is a fundamental issue. People understand while they may not be solely focused on religious freedom, Americans understand the first freedom is a fundamental freedom upon which our other freedoms rest.”

Perkins said that the 2012 election is remarkable based on its stark contrast. For example, the Democratic Party platform, for the first time, supported same-sex marriage in the platform to be adopted next week.

Also, one of the convention speakers is Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider. The organization has been under investigation by Congress and in several states.

“The Republican Party has very strong language as it pertains to natural traditional marriage,” Perkins said. “The Democratic Party [is] going the way of a very small minority in this country in embracing same-sex marriage, which undermines the 32 states that have voted on this – the 30 states that have constitutional amendments. I think that’s in your face to those states that have constitutional amendments.”

“You see on the life issue you have strong language in the Republican platform, probably, some of the strongest language we’ve seen from a conservative perspective and then the Democratic Party going the opposite direction, showcasing Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s been under a cloud of controversy,” he said.