Steve King Says He Has 'Insight' Into Jesus' Persecution After Backlash on White Nationalism Comments

Republican Congressman Steve King said he better understands the persecution and suffering of Jesus Christ following the outcry over his white nationalism comments.

King made the remarks during a town hall meeting in Cherokee, Iowa, in response to a comment from audience member Rev. Pinky Person, of the Faith In Christ Fellowship, on whether Christianity is being persecuted, reports Sioux City Journal.

"For all that I've been through—and it seems even strange for me to say it—but I am at a certain peace, and it is because of a lot of prayers for me," King said.

"And, 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."

King was referring to events in January when more than 400 House members voted to rebuke the Iowa Congressman for comments he made during an interview with The New York Times.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?" King told the Times. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

King was also stripped of all committee assignments by House Republicans in the wake of the interview.

One audience member at the town hall urged King to resign so the 4th District could have a representative who still has committee assignments.

King dismissed the suggestion by claiming the article was not accurate. "The New York Times misquoted me… I cannot let that stand," he told the audience, reported Sioux City Journal.

King, who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, also told the audience the U.S. is a Christian nation because of the strong moral values it holds and that its people are willing to confess to mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

"If it were any other way we wouldn't be the America we are, and probably wouldn't be an America at all," he said, reported Des Moines Register.

In March, King was once again pushed about his views on white nationalism during another meeting with his constituents. When asked whether he believed that a white society is superior to a non-white society, King replied: "I don't have an answer for that. That's so hypothetical. I'll say this, America is not a white society. It has never been a completely white society. We came here and joined the Native Americans."

The question was posed in the days after the New Zealand mosque attacks, which left 50 people dead, over concerns that King's rhetoric was similar to that used in the extremist manifesto published by the suspected white supremacist gunman.

steve king
U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The congressman said better understands the persecution Jesus Christ because of the criticism he received from Congress. Scott Olson/Getty Images