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Television evangelist Pat Robertson said that controversial radio personality Rush Limbaugh went "a little" too far when he called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her Congressional testimony defending the Obama administration's contraception mandate.
Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, said on the Wednesday episode of "The 700 Club" that Limbaugh's remarks were a bit much, but also said the Catholic Church has the right to not cover contraception in its insurance plans.
"Rush Limbaugh got a little, you know, over the top on that thing," said Robertson.
"Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage, is a sin. And yet this woman is saying 'I'm going to be committing sin but I want you to pay for my sin.'"
The controversy surrounding Limbaugh and Fluke began in late February when Fluke, a third-year law student from Georgetown Law, testified before Congress. She said that she did not receive contraception coverage for her student health care plan and that such contraception cost $3,000 a year.
In response to her testimony, Limbaugh devoted much of his radio program to attacking the moral character of Fluke, referring to her as a "slut" and "prostitute." Initially, Limbaugh brushed off the criticism of his rhetoric, at one point demanding that Fluke should be obligated to upload a sex tape online if taxpayers are going to "pay for you to have sex."
However, as many companies decided to pull advertising from Limbaugh's radio program, he eventually issued an apology saying that he "chose the wrong words in [his] analogy of the situation." Fluke and her supporters, however, did not consider the apology sincere and advertisers have continued to pull their ads from Limbaugh's program.
Robertson is not the only prominent public religious figure that has said that Limbaugh went too far with his remarks. Earlier this week Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a critic of the contraception mandate since it was announced in January, said that opposition to the mandate should be done with civility and avoiding inflammatory rhetoric.
"Whatever we do, and however strongly we feel, we do it charitably, we do it civilly," said Cardinal Dolan.
"We don't judge the motives of other people. We just try, in a confident, peaceful, inviting way, to make our position felt, to invite other people to respect it."