A panel of conservative religious leaders assembled by Fox News host Sean Hannity Friday night had increasingly apocalyptic responses to President Obama’s new contraception policy, saying they were eager to go to jail or even die before violating their conscious by providing birth control to women.
Rich Land of the Southern Baptist Convention hit the two poles of overly emphatic rhetoric in one breath, first invoking the Holocaust by reciting Martin Niemöller famous poem “First they came…,” before comparing himself to Martin Luther King Jr. by saying he was ready to “follow in the footsteps” of the civil rights giant by dispatching letters from jail, if need be.
Hannity responded by asking the baker’s dozen religious leader, “how many of you would be willing to go to jail over this?” — all but three or four raised their hands.
But Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor and Catholic priest in New York City, one upped Land, saying he was ready to put his life on the line. “It’s very clear, people have died for those things that are absolutely essential for their faith. It’s not a question of are you willing to go to jail, it’s if I’m asked to do something that goes against my conscious, I’d better be willing to die for that.” He continued, “If I’m not willing to die for that, what am I standing up for?” Watch it:
But this is a silly offer of self-sacrifice, as there is no actual threat of jail time. While the final regulations have yet to be written, the penalty will be financial — not criminal — and regulated by the IRS, likely about $1,000 per violation, according to an expect contacted by ThinkProgress. As Andrew Sullivan notes, by their, Rick Warren should already be in jail, as he’s a resident of California, which has a stricter contraception mandate than the new federal one.