U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking to students at Liberty University, charged that President Obama's health care law forces religious believers to violate their faith.
Cruz, R-Texas, also said the Internal Revenue Service violated the First Amendment in its investigation to determine the status of conservative groups. He said "the federal government has no business asking any American the content of our prayers."
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., has been something of a magnet for Republicans with presidential aspirations. The evangelical Protestant school was founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Cruz, a Southern Baptist, attacked the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The issue is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"For a nation that was founded by pilgrims fleeing religious oppression, how through the looking glass have we gone that the federal government is litigating against our citizens, trying to force us to violate our faith? Religious liberty has never been more under assault,” he said.
Cruz said everyone who wishes to is free to use contraceptives, and that the law forces those who oppose contraception on religious grounds to pay for "the contraceptives of others."
"As believers, we are called to action, not to sitting quietly, but to stand and speak no matter what the consequence," Cruz said.