AMES, IA — A group is calling on U.S. Rep. to apologize for laughing when a conservative talk show host asked him if Congress had the power to pull over Nuns on the Bus and pistol whip them.
According to the Faith in Public Life group, Jan Mickelson, on June 22, said, “There’s a bus full of nuns headed towards Washington to lobby against the Ryan plan. Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the Nuns on the Bus over and pistol whip them?”
Latham then said, “It’s always fun to be on your show” and laughter is heard.
Nuns on the Bus of NETWORK, a liberal Catholic social justice lobby, launched its national tour to advocate for the poor and against the Ryan Budget here in at Congressman Steve King's campaign office. The Republican of Kiron faces Ames Democrat Christie Vilsack in the race for Iowa's new 4th Congressional district.
Latham will no longer represent Ames after the November 2012 election.
Latham faces fellow incumbent Leonard Boswell, a Democrat, in the November 2012 election for a revamped Third District seat that includes Polk and Dallas counties.
A statement from Faith in Public Life on Latham's laughter said:
“While Congressman Latham doesn’t express outright support for Mickelson’s statement, he seems unfazed by the suggestion and happy to laugh off this grotesque call for violence on women ... It’s unacceptable for anyone, let alone an elected representative, to tacitly condone suggestions of violence. Rep. Latham should apologize and clarify that he would never support 'pistol whipping' religious sisters.”
Latham said Wednesday, "Jan's comments were an unfortunate and uncomfortable attempt at humor. Anyone who knows me is aware that it goes without saying that I would not condone such rhetoric."
So far more than 15,000 have signed an online petition posted by Faithful America, an interfaith social and political interest group sponsored by Faith in Public Life. The petition asks Latham to “disavow Jan Mickelson's hateful comments and apologize” to Nuns on the Bus.
Jessica Barba Brown, Faith in Public Life vice president for program development said "Mickelson should also apologize but Latham is an elected member of Congress who is supposed to represent all his constituents, including Catholic sisters. He should be held to a higher standard."
What do you think? Does Latham owe anyone an apology? Tell us in the comments.