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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

BREAKING: Cotton Attacks the Sincerity of Pryor’s Christian Faith

“Mark Pryor think(s) that faith is something that only happens at 11 o’clock on Sunday mornings,” Cotton said yesterday.

Pryor weighs in, campaign calls for Cotton to personally apologize

LITTLE ROCK — In an interview yesterday, Rep. Tom Cotton took direct aim at Sen. Mark Pryor’s faith, calling Pryor a once-a-week Christian in an interview with KNWA in Fayetteville.

Pryor, who has always been open about his personal faith and has served as four time co-chair of the National Prayer Breakfast, has long been known as someone whose values are rooted in his deeply held Christian faith.

“I’m disappointed in Congressman Cotton’s deeply personal attack on me,” Pryor said Wednesday. “He and I may disagree on issues, but for him to question my faith is out of bounds. From a young age I have never shied away from talking about the importance of God in my life, and it’s my Christian faith that gives me comfort and guidance to be a steady voice for Arkansas in the Senate.”

Cotton’s comments came in an interview about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. Even though Pryor, in response to the court’s ruling, had already expressed respect and appreciation for the sincere religious beliefs of the plaintiffs, Cotton saw an opportunity to pass judgement on Mark Pryor and lecture him about the difference between worship and faith:

“Mark Pryor think(s) that faith is something that only happens at 11 o’clock on Sunday mornings. That’s when we worship, but faith is what we live every day.” [KNWA, 7/1/14]

Pryor’s campaign today called on Cotton to immediately and personally apologize for the comments. Said Pryor spokesman Erik Dorey, “Congressman Cotton owes an apology not just to Mark Pryor, but to all Arkansans of faith who can disagree reasonably about matters of policy without stooping so low as to question someone’s fundamental values.”

Last December, Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor of Arkansas, adamantly defended Pryor’s character when his faith was attacked by national Republicans.

“I would never question at all Mark Pryor’s faith,” Huckabee said on his radio show, “because I happen to know first hand from my conversations with him that his faith is very real. He’s very committed as a Christian believer. He believes the Bible. I just, I’m not going to say anything disparaging about Mark because it would be unfair.” [Mike Huckabee Radio Show, WGDJ, 12/5/13]

BACKGROUND:

Pryor Was Co-Chair Of The National Prayer Breakfast. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “President Obama, in remarks by turns humorous and personal, emphasized the need to prolong a spirit of goodwill in Washington and to face vexing problems with humility, during an address at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning. Mr. Obama, speaking at the annual breakfast for the fifth time in his presidency, began with humorous remarks about his family, in response to an introduction by event co-chairman Sen. Mark Pryor (D) of Arkansas. ‘I thought he was going to talk about my gray hair,’ the president said. ‘It is true that my daughters are gorgeous. That’s because my wife is gorgeous. And my goal is to improve my gene pool.’” [The Christian Science Monitor, 2/7/13]

Pryor Said National Prayer Breakfast Helped Make Washington A Better Place. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “After the [National Prayer Breakfast] Pryor, in a brief interview with CNN, said he didn’t see the president’s remarks as a partisan dig from his standpoint and echoed the president’s sentiments that leaders in the United States need to remain humble. He added he hopes they will continue to pray together. ‘By praying together and trying to find unity in prayer, hopefully we can take the day-to-day stuff to a higher plain.’ ‘It’s tough to pray with someone and then go on the Senate floor and beat the tar out of someone. It’s tough, but not impossible,’ he said with a wide grin. ‘The challenge for all of us is to connect Sunday to Monday and keep that in our minds and make a difference,’ he said. ‘Washington is an interesting place. I think the National Prayer Breakfast makes it better.’” [The Christian Science Monitor, 2/7/13]

Pryor Co-Chaired The 54th Annual National Prayer Breakfast. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Coleman, who co-chaired the breakfast with Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said in a telephone interview that he hoped the event was more inclusive this year.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 2/2/06]

Pryor “Co-Chairs The Chamber’s Bipartisan Prayer Group.” According to Congressional Quarterly Today, “Mark Pryor, D-Ark … Pryor’s deep roots in Arkansas have allowed him to quietly work for his state while keeping a low national profile, but that may begin to change as his party seeks to reach out to more conservative voters. His reputation as a values-driven Democrat — he co-chairs the chamber’s bipartisan prayer group — has positioned Pryor to take a major role in finding the middle ground on judges that many Republicans charged were being blocked for their stance against abortion rights.” [Congressional Quarterly Today, 5/24/05]

Governor Huckabee: “I Would Never Question At All Mark Pryor’s Faith Because I Happen To Know First Hand From My Conversations With Him That His Faith Is Very Real.” On his radio program, Governor Mike Huckabee said, “Actually, I like Mark. He’s a fine person. He really is. And he and I always had a very good working relationship. I would never say anything unkind about him. He is indeed a very committed Christian believer. And I know some people say, ‘Oh, a person can’t be a Christian and be a Democrat.’ Well, I would just say, I find that offensive, because I don’t think you can judge a person’s personal faith or the authenticity of it based on their politics. Now, I would always say if you’re part of a party that believes in some things that are in direct contradiction to the Scripture, I’ll let you figure out how to explain that. But, I would never question at all Mark Pryor’s faith, because I happen to know first hand from my conversations with him that his faith is very real. He’s very committed as a Christian believer. He believes the Bible. I just, I’m not going to say anything disparaging about Mark because it would be unfair. [Mike Huckabee Show, WGDJ, 12/5/13]

Governor Huckabee: Mark Pryor Is “A Very Committed As A Christian Believer. He Believes The Bible.” On his radio program, Governor Mike Huckabee said, “But, I would never question at all Mark Pryor’s faith, because I happen to know first hand from my conversations with him that his faith is very real. He’s very committed as a Christian believer. He believes the Bible. I just, I’m not going to say anything disparaging about Mark because it would be unfair. [Mike Huckabee Show, WGDJ, 12/5/13]

Governor Huckabee: “I Want To Commend Both Mark Pryor For Being Open About His Faith. I Think That’s Healthy And Good And I’m Delighted That He’s Done It.” On his radio program, Governor Mike Huckabee said, “But I want to commend both Mark Pryor for being open about his faith. I think that’s healthy and good and I’m delighted that he’s done it. And I want to say God Bless Tom Cotton for not just joining in the long line of people who say, “Aw, let’s go beat him up.” And to his credit, Tom Cotton defended Mark Pryor’s spiritual integrity. Wow. Is it possible to have a decent, thoughtful, civil race in America anymore? Well, we’ll see how it turns out before it’s all over. But this is refreshing to say the least.” [Mike Huckabee Show, WGDJ, 12/5/13]