Stella Maxwell
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Miley Cyrus Wants Tom Cotton to Get His Priorities Straight

Miley Cyrus Wants Tom Cotton to Get His Priorities Straight

The office of U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has likely been hearing from an onslaught of pro-LGBT "happy hippies" after pop star Miley Cyrus called on her nearly 20 million Twitter followers to "stir shit up." 

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday, Cotton falsely claimed that Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act — and similar legislation in Arkansas — were largely based on the federal RFRA signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. 

While the recent RFRAs passed in Indiana and Arkansas may share a name with the federal legislation, they are substantially different in scope. Even Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a fellow Republican, acknowledged as much Wednesday, when he asked state legislators to revise the RFRA bill on his desk so that it actually mirrored the federal statute. Lawmakers subsequently drafted a new bill, which Hutchinson signed into law Thursday evening. 

But it wasn't Cotton's factual errors Wednesday that caught the wrath of Cyrus and LGBT activists and allies around the country. Instead, it was the Arkansas senator's claim that critics of so-called religious freedom bills have their priorities mixed up. 

"I also think that it's important that we have a sense of perspective about our priorities," Cotton told CNN. "In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay. They're currently imprisoning an American preacher for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Iran. We should focus on the most important priorities that our country faces right now." 

The freshman Republican senator, who famously authored an "open letter" to the Iranian government warning that any potential nuclear agreement with the U.S. could be revoked in two years, then went on to bemoan the dangers of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. 

Nevertheless, Cotton's message to gay Americans that they should be grateful they are not routinely executed prompted Cyrus to issue a call to action to her millions of followers: 

It's unclear whether Cotton's office was indeed flooded by calls from self-described "happy hippies," and when asked about the pop star's critique, the senator declined to mention Cyrus by name, reports ABC News

"Religious freedom is a founding principle of this country," Cotton said, according to ABC. "In fact it goes way back past our founding — that's one of the reasons the Puritans and Pilgrims came here. So I'll always stand up to defend religious freedom. I'll also always stand up to keep America safe."

Watch Cotton's original comments below, as clipped by ThinkProgress:

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