WASHINGTON -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee thanked the president on Friday for his recent ruling on contraception, saying it united the party behind a cause that is especially dear to Catholics and religious institutions.
"Thanks to President Obama, we are all Catholics now," he told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The ruling, made in January, requires all employers to provide contraception in insurance coverage. Catholic-run institutions in particular are opposed to the decision because the religion officially bans the use of contraception, although many Catholic women still use it.
Conservatives in general have taken up the cause because they say it is a violation of the First Amendment and allows for insurers to pay for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive that prevents pregnancy within a few days of unprotected sex.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, who was also involved in the administration's decision, also received a shout-out from Huckabee.
"By the way, CPAC is giving out awards this week. Obviously I suggest they give Kathleen Sebelius" an award, he said. "She has truly in her absolutely adamant point of view given us a reason to rally."
Huckabee said that the federal government under Obama has disrespected human life by allowing abortion. But for all his insistence that religion and morals are important to the government, Huckabee mocked the president for saying his values factor into decisions in the White House.
Huckabee said the president gave a homily, or sermon, during a National Prayer Breakfast.
"I was amazed. I did not realize that we had elected a theologian to be commander-in-chief," Huckabee said of Obama. "He actually believes, and said, that Jesus would want us to pay higher tax rates."
His final attack on Obama was over his tithing, which refers to the 10 percent Christians are told to donate to the church or other charities. Obama paid about one percent of his income, Huckabee said, quoting from the Bible that tithing less is "stealing from God."
"If a person will rob God, that person will steal you blind, don't you ever forget it," he said.