(AP News) Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Saturday condemned the Obama administration's use of "coercive federal power" to limit religious freedom as he courted Christian conservatives at a Liberty University commencement ahead of a likely presidential run.
Charging that "the Christian voice" isn't heard enough in the world, the Republican White House prospect lashed out at the Democratic president's administration for "demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience."
"The present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom have instead become an aggressive stance against it," Bush told an estimated 34,000 gathered for a graduation ceremony.
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"Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn't the nuns, ministers, and laymen and women who ask only to live and practice their faith," he said. Bush was speaking inside a packed football stadium at Liberty University, an institution founded by the late conservative culture warrior, Rev. Jerry Falwell.