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Pity the Poor Persecuted Christians

Reported by Judy - June 2, 2005

According to Fox News, there's freedom of religion in this country, but no freedom from religion. You're gonna get religion -- the Christian one, that is -- whether you like it or not because Christians are free to cram it down your throat, even at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The scandal of evangelical Christians forcing their religious views onto other cadets at the Air Force Academy is, of course, being spun by Fox News into "persecution" of Christians.

The latest attempt was by John Gibson on "The Big Story" on Wednesday (June 1). Gibson interviewed Jay Sekulow, from the American Center for Law and Justice (high-sounding name for a group started by Pat Robertson that is only interested in protecting Christian churches), and John L. Peterson from the Interfaith Alliance. The issue was an e-mail sent by a cadet to all 3,000 undergraduates at the academy containing Christian views.

Sekulow says the cadet was only exercising his First Amendment freedom of religion and that under Supreme Court rulings, college, and even high school, students have the same freedom in that regard as others. Since this e-mail was "student-initiated," Sekulow said, it was protected speech.

Peterson pointed out that the "student" in this case was "wing commander" and sent the e-mail in that capacity, in violation of academy regulations on use of e-mail for personal communications and at a time when the student knew there have been complaints about forced Christianity. Sekulow just kept repeating that the cadet was a college student.

Gibson might have used his position as a fair and balanced moderator of this debate to ascertain exactly what the truth was -- is the cadet a mere "student" or does he have some official capacity, and would that affect his coverage by the high court's rulings? But no, that would mean Gibson would have had to do some prepatory work, like read the ruling or maybe even a couple wire stories about the controversy that have a few facts in them.

Instead, he lets Sekulow have the last word, "The student has free speech rights, you can't ignore that."

And the Fox News faithful goes away believing that the nation's Christians are being fed to lions once again.

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