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Neville invokes Nazis while criticizing Obama administration

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By Emile Hallez

State Sen. Tim Neville invoked Nazi Germany last week in a reference leading up to a comment about the Obama administration, an association he said he made only in regard to a threatened “right of conscience.”

“In 1941 America again faced the threat of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism while attempting to step out its citizens’ right of consciousness and pushing a populist, anti-big-business, anti-capitalist theme along with its attacks on established religious institutions,” the Republican said March 12 at a rally outside the state Capitol. “The world experienced the horror of this resulting loss of right of conscience and the slaughter of innocents.”

Though he later insisted he was not directly comparing the administration to the Third Reich, Neville, whom a Republican committee appointed last year to replace outgoing Sen. Mike Kopp, said rights of conscience, or protections for health-care workers who knowingly withhold patient care because of personal beliefs, are under attack.

“We do have a right of conscience, but I believe that it is in danger and has been in danger in the past. … And that was what I was mentioning. If we lose that right of conscience, there are a lot of unfortunate things that can happen,” Neville said in an interview Sunday, citing recent moves by the Obama administration, including a rule requiring employers to cover contraception in health plans — a significant departure from the ideology of the Bush administration, which passed a refusal-of-patient-care regulation in 2008 dubbed the “Right of Conscience” Rule.

“I don’t think the role of government is to force things on us that are bigger than our faith,” Neville said. “Those rights are granted by God. They are not granted by an institution of government, and they should not be violated.”

Neville, who became ineligible to run for his own office in District 22 following the statewide reapportionment process late last year, filed an affidavit on March 6 to run in 2014 in Senate District 16, where he now lives.

“We’re looking at it,” Neville said of the new campaign, taking a swipe at Democrats for endorsing a reapportioned map favoring their party. “I didn’t decide it as much as the Democratic Party did.”

While debate persists between conservatives and liberals on the place of religion in health care requirements, Neville said contraception is only a small part of the argument.

“This is not a debate about services or products — it’s more basic than that,” he said. “If the government can do what it pleases with this, what else can it do? Where’s the line?”

Excerpts from Neville’s speech at the rally can be seen at ColoradoPols, http://www.coloradopols.com/diary/17431/totally-unacceptable-denver-post-sanitizes-senate-gop-rally, which originally reported the story.

 

Contact Emile Hallez at emile@evergreenco.comor 303-933-2233, ext. 22.