Mark Pryor Says Tom Cotton Questioned His Faith

by Associated Press  on Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 2:47 pm  

LITTLE ROCK — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor on Wednesday accused his Republican campaign rival, Rep. Tom Cotton, of questioning his religious beliefs for saying the Arkansas lawmaker believes "faith is something that only happens at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings."

Cotton, a freshman congressman, later said he believed Pryor was a "man of faith."

The exchange was the latest time the two have wrangled over comments they claim insult a key part of their biographies as they run in an increasingly expensive, nationally watched race for the Senate. Cotton, who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, accused Pryor earlier this year of attacking his military service.

Pryor was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and is the only Democratic member of Arkansas' congressional delegation.

Cotton made the remarks in an interview with a northwest Arkansas television station Tuesday when asked about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that some companies don't need to provide birth control to employees over religious objections. He said the ruling showed the federal health care law infringed on Arkansans' liberties.

"Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings," Cotton told KNWA. "That's when we worship, but faith is what we live every single day, and the government shouldn't infringe on the rights of religious liberty."

Pryor denounced the remarks, accusing Cotton of attacking his faith.

"I'm disappointed in Congressman Cotton's deeply personal attack on me," Pryor said in a statement released by his campaign. "He and I may disagree on issues, but for him to question my faith is out of bounds."

In a statement released by his campaign, Cotton indicated his comments were directed at the federal health law and not Pryor's faith.

"Senator Pryor is a man of faith and practices it with commendable openness, which I respect, but I wish he would respect Arkansans' right to practice our faith," Cotton said.

Pryor regularly talks about his faith and quotes from the Bible during campaign appearances. During a sermon he gave at a Little Rock church last month, he cited a dozen biblical passages. He also made his faith the centerpiece of one of his first ads, launched late last year.

"I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God," Pryor said in the spot, which featured him holding a Bible. "And I believe in his word."

 

 

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