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FACT CHECK: New Romney Ad Claims Obama Has Waged a 'War on Religion' -- Is this Accurate? (Poll)


"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?."

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has a new ad out targeting President Obama and his handling of matters of faith and religion. The 30-second spot, called "Be Not Afraid," begins with a question, "Who shares your values?" Then, it goes on to say that "Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion."

"The Romney commercial includes some of the candidate's recent speech in Warsaw, reflecting on Pope John Paul II's words -- 'be not afraid' -- during a 1979 trip to Poland that helped lead to the end of communist rule," the USA Today explains.

In addition to sharing images of Polish politician and human rights activist Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II, the ad also declares that the regulations put in place by the president have forced "religious institutions to go against their faith." Naturally, it frames Romney as standing against these restrictive policies.

"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?," the ad concludes.

Watch it, below:

Considering the other advertisements that have created debate in the 2012 election cycle (Obama's "Romney killed my wife" ad drama and the anti-Rep. Allen West spot featuring him beating women are just two examples), it's important to explore the merits of the new ad.

The spot, which was sponsored jointly by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee, sticks to a very basic script in making its assertion: That President Obama has forced faith groups into a corner on the issue of contraception.

Interestingly, the ad never mentions birth control -- the very issue that is at the center of Catholic and other faith groups' opposition to the administration's policies. Instead, it focuses upon religious liberty, an issue that conservatives tried to drive home during the initial debate about the issue earlier this year.

In terms of its truthfulness, the ad seems to be on par, focusing upon the notion that institutions (not churches, seeing as houses of worship are exempt), were forced "go against their faith." Taking into account the Catholic Church's opposition to birth control, mandating that organizations associated with the religious system provide contraception would, indeed, make this a reality.

Critics, though, could argue that the proposed regulation -- which is still under consideration for church institutions -- hasn't actually caused religious organizations to violate conscience. After all, it hasn't gone into effect yet. On these grounds, the ad does seem to lead people to believe that violations have already taken place.

What do you think about the ad? Is it accurate? Take the poll, below:

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