Atlanta’s Catholic Archbishop said Friday at a metro area parochial school that his church’s recent efforts to mobilize parishioners against the federal government’s contraception coverage mandate was a purely nonpartisan exercise to defend religious liberty.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched earlier this week a two-week “Fortnight for Freedom” to protest the Department of Health and Human Services recent mandate that requires church affiliated institutions, save for churches themselves, to cover contraceptive devices for employees.

But even as Friday’s Fortnight for Freedom rally here in Georgia featured two prominent Peach State Republicans, Senator Johnny Isakson and Rep. Tom Price, Archbishop Wilton Gregory rejected the notion that the church had been coopted by a partisan political agenda. (Promotional collateral for the event billed the GOP’ers second only to Wilton.) Rather, partisan political agendas have coopted church tenants–often unevenly–throughout history, he told Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE.

Listen to the full exchange between Archbishop Wilton and WABE’s Dennis O’Hayer.

– James Richardson