Birth Control Mandate? Wolf Blitzer Doesn't Think Religious Liberty Is Threatened

CNN's Wolf Blitzer hounded Rep. Michele Bachmann over Arizona's religious freedom bill on Wednesday and "disagreed" that religious beliefs of business owners are being violated when they are forced to act against their consciences and serve all customers.

"Americans are very tolerant people. And there is religious freedom in our country," Blitzer insisted. When Bachmann responded that "This is not tolerating people's religious beliefs," he chimed back in, "On this one, I disagree."

Blitzer didn't even acknowledge the conservative argument that religious freedom is under attack from ObamaCare's birth control mandate, as well as from lawsuits against businesses who won't serve gay couples for religious reasons.

Bachmann said as much: "But remember, we are treating people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs differently than other Americans either. This isn't one side or another. What we're talking about is tolerance on both sides. And it is not tolerant to force people to violate their religious beliefs. That's not tolerant."

Blitzer didn't offer much of a rebuttal, other than that he disagreed. He focused on the gays and lesbians affected by the law: "But if gays and lesbians won't be able to get services like all other Americans, that's discriminatory against them."

Below is a transcript of the segment:

CNN
THE SITUATION ROOM
2/26/14
6:18 p.m. EST

WOLF BLITZER: What do you think the Republican governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, should do with this legislation passed by the state legislature that the supporters say is a religious freedom piece of legislation. The critics say it gives an opportunity to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

MICHELE BACHMANN: I think that what we need to do is we need to respect both sides. We need to respect both opinions. And just like we need to observe tolerance for the gay and lesbian community, we need to have tolerance for the community of people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs.

BLITZER: So should she veto that legislation?

BACHMANN: No, I don't think that she should. My opinion is –

BLITZER: Won't that open the door for less tolerance for gays?

BACHMANN: Oh, in fact it's just the opposite. This is a decided level of intolerance. It's effectively eviscerating the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, expression and religious expression for the people of Arizona, and it sets a terrible precedence.

BLITZER: But if gays and lesbians won't be able to get services like all other Americans, that's discriminatory against them.

BACHMANN: We need – again, we need to respect the gay and lesbian community, and they need to have access to services.

BLITZER: But if they're treated differently than other Americans, that certainly isn't respectful.

BACHMANN: But remember, we are treating people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs differently than other Americans either. This isn't one side or another. What we're talking about is tolerance on both sides. And it is not tolerant to force people to violate their religious beliefs. That's not tolerant.

BLITZER: I think you're going to be disappointed because I think, I think she's going to veto that legislation.

BACHMANN: It looks like she may veto it, but I think that will prove to serve us not very well in terms of tolerance in the United States.

BLITZER: There's a lot of tolerance. Americans are very tolerant people. And there is religious freedom in our country.

BACHMANN: This is not tolerating people's religious beliefs. And we need to do that.

BLITZER: On this one, I disagree.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center