U.S. Rep. Steve King invoked the story of Jesus Christ at a town hall in Cherokee, Iowa, on Tuesday, comparing his experience of being called out in the House of Representatives for racist remarks to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

“When I have to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives, and look up at those 400-and-some accusers — you know we just passed through Easter and Christ’s passion — and I have better insight into what He went through for us partly because of that experience,” the Iowa Republican said, referring to the biblical story of Jesus’ trek to Calvary and execution on a cross in Jerusalem.

King told the roughly 30 constituents at the town hall Tuesday that the prayers he has received from others have helped him through the tough time and given him a “certain peace,” the Sioux City Journal reported.

The full House voted 424-1 on a resolution this year meant to rebuke King for making racist comments to the New York Times. King voted in favor of the resolution. Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush voted against, saying it didn’t go far enough to condemn King’s behavior.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republican Steering Committee stripped King of his committee assignments after the episode.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked during a January interview, according to the New York Times.

“Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” he is quoted as asking.

The resolution passed in Jan. 14 stated that the House rejects white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

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When someone at the town hall asked King to resign so that the people of Iowa’s 4th District could vote for a representative who sits on committees, King declined and restated his position that the Times mischaracterized his comments about white nationalism.

The nine-term incumbent has made headlines in recent years for retweeting, and meeting with, far-right groups that have ties to Nazis. He consistently decries what he sees as the demise of white Americans as the U.S. becomes more diverse.

“Western civilization is on the decline,” King said at a meeting last year with a handful of reporters and activists, including a member of a far-right group in Austria that was founded by a former Nazi SS officer.

This report includes material from the Washington Post.

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