We’ve covered the hot debate raging between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church on this site. And we’ve covered plenty of arguments for and against the Obamacare mandate that businesses, through their insurers, offer free contraception. But we haven’t covered a defense quite like this. It goes like this: “Maybe the founders were wrong to guarantee free Exercise of religion,” but they did and the administration needs to respect that.

Wait, what?

That’s what Washington Post editor Melinda Henneberger told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last night while defending Catholics. Here’s the full quote:

“Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment but that is what they did and I don’t think we have to choose here.”

She went on to to say that “…What [the Obama administration is] doing is guaranteeing people, you know, these Catholic outfits and others can’t serve the populations that they were called to serve.” That’s a good point. But the comment about the founders seems startling. Newsbusters may have put it best when it said, “Henneberger’s larger point was defensive of the Catholic Church and of religious liberty. However, her comment on the First Amendment was poorly phrased.”

You can watch the segment below:

Newsbusters has the full transcript.