Cuccinelli Compares Himself to Martin Luther King

Ken Cuccinelli, the wingnut attorney general of Virginia, continued the pattern of right wingers claiming the mantle of Martin Luther King by comparing his fight against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate to King’s battle for black civil rights.

Cuccinelli was asked Monday about the controversy on The John Fredericks Show, a conservative talk show in Virginia. He was shocked Democrats would raise the issue, casting the battle as a struggle for rights rather than an attack on contraception.

“Whenever I talk about religious liberty, you know they turn it around. All they talk about -they don’t talk about denying religious liberty. They talk about contraception. And I’m not talking about contraception. Government doesn’t have a role in contraception,” Cuccinelli told the radio show. “Government does have a role in protecting your civil rights especially today on MLK Day. The man who really came up with the American non-violent protest theory of civil disobedience. It’s pretty egregious that they can’t get any higher than contraception when we’re talking about protecting people’s religious liberty.”

Let’s count the many ways this is absurd.

1. There is no violation of religious liberty. Religious employers don’t have to do anything at all as a result of the contraception mandate. Their group policies remain exactly the same as they always were. The insurance companies merely have to provide a separate rider to cover contraception to the employees of those companies, ensuring that they have access to family planning services. And have you noticed that the insurance companies aren’t throwing a fit about this at all? You know why? Because contraception can dramatically reduce the cost of health care for the insured; it’s far cheaper for them to provide birth control coverage than to cover the cost of pre-natal and post-natal care and the cost of health care for the child for the next 26 years.

2. Martin Luther King was a vocal advocate of wider access to birth control. In fact, he received an award from Planned Parenthood and in his acceptance he spoke eloquently of the need to guarantee access to contraception as a means of empowering women.

3. What about the right to access contraception? A woman has that right, of course, but by not allowing insurance coverage that allows another person to impose their religious views on them by making it more difficult for them to access that right.

4. Where was Cuccinelli’s alleged concern for liberty when he was pushing a bill to mandate invasive ultrasounds for women before they could have an abortion? It’s tyranny for the government to mandate contraception coverage in insurance policies but not for the government to order an instrument inserted into a woman’s vagina that isn’t medically necessary?

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  • slc1

    Koo koo Ken Cuccinelli is also a global warming denier who tried to force UVA to release the emails of former UVA professor Michael Mann, as part of his witch hut against climate scientists, without the slightest probable cause. His law suits have been thrown out of court as the UVA administration has stood up to the bully. This same fucktard is now running for Governor of Virginia in this years’ election.

  • matty1

    If there is a right not to pay for things you don’t like a follower of Jesus ‘turn the other cheek’ Christ would surely be more concerned about the military budget.

  • MikeMa

    Ken ‘Asshole’ Cuccinelli. He gets to wear that moniker until he pulls his head out of there and stops making policy from there.

  • hunter

    What Cuccinelli and the anti-contraception whack jobs are really pushing is the “right” of employers to determine how employees spend their wages. Health insurance is, in most instances, figured as part of compensation. (Witness the fact that gay employees are taxed on premiums for health insurance provided to their partners, although straight employees are not.) If they try to prohibit the insurance company from providing contraception, they are really trying to dictate how part of employees’ compensation is used.

  • cptdoom

    Their group policies remain exactly the same as they always were. The insurance companies merely have to provide a separate rider to cover contraception to the employees of those companies, ensuring that they have access to family planning services.

    To be fair to the Cooch and his fellow religious whack-jobs, the real problem they have is not for employers that buy group coverage, it’s for the employers who self-insure. If you’re a very large employer it is far cheaper to simply pay the real health costs of your employees rather than buying traditional insurance. Self-insuring also exempts you from those pesky state laws that require you to actually cover all your employees’ health care needs. Self-insurance also means the employer is actually paying the claim for the evil contraception, rather than paying a premium to the insurer, which pays the claim in a traditional set-up (insurers are still employed to manage the self-insurance benefit, so most employees don’t realize the difference). Of course, those same employers have to pay for the drugs to treat gluttony-based diabetes, but that doesn’t seem to bother them too much.

  • Brian Engler

    Regrettably I’ve met Cuccinelli several times. He really does egregiously conflate his personal, fundamentalist xian views with public policy. I’ve voted against him every time he’s run for any office, but the (principally downstate VA) rethuglicans love him. I’m worried about the next VA gubernatorial election.

  • TCC

    Cuccinelli’s not even right about his history; King stated clearly in his autobiography that he read Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Resistance to Civil Government” (now commonly known as “Civil Disobedience”) at Morehouse College and owed a lot of his philosophy concerning civil disobedience to Thoreau.

  • marcus

    5. King evolved and expanded the philosophy and practice of non-violent resistance after meetings and discussions with Mahatma Gandhi. AFAIK there is no such thing as “American non-violent protest theory”.

  • TCC

    @marcus: MLK never met Gandhi personally, AFAICT, although he did travel to Gandhi’s birthplace in 1959 (around nine years after Gandhi was assassinated). He was influenced by Gandhi, but you should also know that Gandhi was himself influenced by Thoreau.

  • ttch

    King wrote an article in the July 1959 issue of Ebony magazine about his trip to India and the Gandhi legacy:

    “My Trip to the Land of Gandhi”

  • marcus

    @9 and 10 Thanks for the correction, I obviously mis-remembered. Cheers!

  • tfkreference

    Thanks, TCC, I was going to say the same thing–though I’ve been out of grad school so long that I had forgotten how Thoreau influenced King (and Ghandi) – I didn’t think it was the bean soup. I will add that it doesn’t take anything away from King; you can say that he brought nonviolent protest back to the forefront of American thought.

  • baal

    Right wing xtian conservative lays claim to and misuses MLK Jr…(R) wonder why they don’t get 98%+ of the African American vote.

    I didn’t know #2 in Ed’ OP. If all you hear is even ‘lefty’ NPR and MSNBC, you’d think MLK Jr. was pro-life.

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