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Taliban & Colmes – Or More Proof That Roger Ailes Lied When He Said FOX News Likes America

Reported by Ellen - January 4, 2006

Now that Christmas is over, FOX News’ latest target in its crusade to cram Christianity down the throats of all Americans is the ACLU. The acronym stands for “American Civil Liberties Union.” It ought to be an organization that FOX News reveres if it’s true, as Roger Ailes likes to say, that they like America. What could be more American than civil liberties? But because the ACLU seeks to uphold, without exception, the Constitutional requirements that government stay out of religion, this organization is regularly demonized on FNC as somehow un-American. A truly disgusting example occurred last Thursday (12/29/05) on Hannity & Colmes.

The guest was Rees Lloyd, a former ACLU attorney who was upset that the ACLU won a legal decision, plus attorneys’ fees, requiring the National Parks Service to remove a cross from a veterans’ memorial in a national park. It could have been an interesting and valid debate but there was no spokesperson for the other side. Not only that, but with the exception of Alan Colmes, there was no respect for the other side or the legal decision, either.

“Fair and balanced” FOX News could not have found a more rabid partisan than Lloyd. Rather than stick to the issues, Lloyd smeared the ACLU by calling it “The Taliban of liberal secularism in America.” FOX News made its own views abundantly clear by putting “ACLU WHISTLEBLOWER” across the bottom of the screen during almost the entire interview.

Lloyd claimed that the ACLU’s victory over removing the cross set a “very, very dangerous precedent” which “can be easily exploited by any Islamist terrorist or sympathizer in our midst who can then go in and say they want attorney fees.”

Right after that unsubstantiated allegation, Lloyd told Colmes that “what has to be recognized here is just a common sense position.” Lloyd said the cross had been made while the memorial was on private land and that the memorial remained on private land until Bill Clinton incorporated it into the Mojave Preserve. (Didn’t you just know he would find a way to blame Clinton somehow?)

Colmes said that the mistake made was not allowing other religious symbols. “The government is supposed to be religion-neutral, is it not? And that is the key to the case.” If a spokesperson for the ACLU had been present, he or she would probably have said that the religion-neutral position that the ACLU demands of the government is not in order to push secularism on people but an effort to preserve religious liberty for all. That was the wish of our founding fathers, not something liberal secularists dreamed up.

But Lloyd insisted that the act of transferring the land from the private to public domain, “by order of Bill Clinton” when there was already a cross on the memorial, did not constitute an endorsement of religion. Comment: Of course it didn't. It wasn’t the transfer that was the endorsement, it was the cross.

Lloyd told Colmes, “There was no evidence that anybody was ever barred from putting anything they wanted up there and I’m sure they can.” Actually, there IS evidence. The Washington Post reported that in 1999, the National Park Service denied a request to build a Buddhist religious symbol near the cross. Attorney Lloyd’s ignorance of that relevant fact strongly suggests that his real interest is in the maintenance of a Christian symbol, not freedom of religion.

Lloyd also stated that the ACLU award of attorneys fees of $63,000 is a precedent that makes all veterans’ cemeteries vulnerable, including the crosses and stars of David at Normandy Beach. This is another mischaracterization of the ACLU. Their website makes clear it is against “the removal of religious symbols from personal gravestones. Personal gravestones are the choice of the family members, not the choice of the government. The ACLU vigorously defends peoples’ freedom to choose the religious symbols of their choice.”

Then it was substitute co-host Mike Gallagher’s turn. The rest of the segment was a non-stop ACLU-bash . “It’s so refreshing and so encouraging to see somebody who was in the trenches with the ACLU (“ACLU WHISTLEBLOWER” still on the screen) like you have been, realize what tyrants these guys, how they DO embrace judicial tyranny… Why do these guys insist on hurting veterans and offending good, God-fearing Americans who just want to be left alone?’

Lloyd said the ACLU had “a totalitarian impulse. This is about power. It’s also about great profits. We’re talking about millions of dollars annually…when they have in fact no actual attorney fees… They do it by staff, and with volunteer attorneys.”

Gallagher suggested that the ACLU’s real motive for their lawsuits was "mercenary," to collect money. He gloated that Lloyd was “on to something big time with this.”

Lloyd replied the money was “very much a part of it.” He said it was “a way to punish Americans and American taxpayers. Do what we say or you will pay.”

“Right,” Gallagher said.

Lloyd referred to a case in LA where, he claims, the county is spending a million dollars to remove a cross from its seal and another in Redlands, CA, where the local government is drilling holes through police and fireman’s badges to get rid of crosses “to satisfy the ACLU.” (Comment: To satisfy the Constitution, not the ACLU.)

Gallagher and Lloyd both agreed that was fanaticism. Apparently, there's a limit to just how much we in the FOX News audience are supposed to like America and the Constitution. Also, I still can't figure out how the ACLU can be fanatics and mercenaries out for the dough at the same time.

“It’s extremist in the most vivid way of the word,” said Gallagher. This, from the network that called a sign saying "Fresh Cut Holiday Trees" an "assault on Christmas."

Comment: There are not many times that FOX News “gets” to me but that smarmy proselytizing in the guise of an attack on an institution that seeks to protect the very ideals that have distinguished our country and made it so great upset me to the point of being unable to write about it until now. In fact, the kind-hearted and generous Marie Therese was going to do it for me but she got swamped with other commitments. When I had nothing to post about last night’s H&C (it was all about the mining accident in WV), I offered to try again.

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