A Missouri congressman is apologizing for equating liberalism to a “hatred of God” during a radio interview Monday.

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican, was discussing NBC’s recent removal of the words “under God” from a clip of the Pledge of Allegiance during coverage of the U.S. Open.

“Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal, and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God,” Akin told radio host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”

Akin, who is running in the GOP primary for Missouri’s senate seat, released a statement Tuesday apologizing for his comments.

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