Rep. Akin Still Won't Discuss Liberal "Hatred Of God" Comments With Concerned Clergy

August 19, 2011 11:13 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Sen. Tom Coburn

Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who is running for the Senate in 2012, sparked a controversy earlier this summer when he declared that "at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God." Akin initially doubled down on the statement before issuing a tepid apology, which indicated that he didn't actually regret his statement at all:

People, who know me and my family, know that we take our faith and beliefs very seriously. As Christians, we would never question the sincerity of anyone's personal relationship with God. My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, Liberalism not at any specific individual. If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies.

Unsatisfied with the congressman's explanation, local clergy have been attempting to meet with Akin since the incident, but they have been unable to arrange a meeting:

Nearly two months ago, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin raised the ire of some local pastors by saying on the Tony Perkins radio program that, "At the heart of liberalism is a hatred for God."  Today those pastors are still upset with the congressman because he hasn't agreed to meet with them to discuss the statement.

The clergy members and Akin's spokesman blame each other for communication breakdowns and disagree on, among other things, what- if any- media coverage should accompany a meeting.

Akin's Spokesman Steve Taylor says the congressman has apologized and it's time to move on.

Akin frequently brings religion into his political arguments — for example, he once called the Bible a "blueprint to tell us about economics" — but apparently his piety does not include hearing out religious leaders who may not agree with him.