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Fox&Friends Pushes Persecuted Christian Theme to Stoke The Notre Dame “Controversy” And Smear Obama

Reported by Priscilla - April 8, 2009 -

The Christian “Fox Nation” does love to play martyr and what better time to do it than Holy Week, which is a time when Christians reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus and which presents the right wing conservative Christians, on Fox News, with an opportunity to whine about how they are being “persecuted.” The poor, persecuted Christian against the evil secular liberal theme is a Fox&Friends fave. In February, good Christian Gretchen Carlson kvetched about how the atheist sign in Seattle and an image from the Sistine Chapel on a condom poster were examples of how these poor, conservative Christians are being so scourged. Recently, she used the “controversy” about Obama’s invitation to Notre Dame to work in a little editorial comment about how the “controversy” is an example of how Christians are persecuted. The culture war isn’t going too well lately; but that didn’t stop the Fox crusaders from using Holy Week, a time of pious reflection for the Christian community, as a platform for bashing Obama and the standard Christian conservative persecution meme. Such a heavy cross to bear!!!!

This morning (April 8) the “War on Christianity” segment began with the comment "as Christians observe the most holy week in the calendar (while images of the Pope, who is not the leader of all Christians, played on the video) politics is playing hardball with the very religion that founded this country.” (Comment: Historians, excluding Larry Schweikart, would take issue with that). The chyron read “Newsweek Cover:Decline and Fall of Christian America.” Steve Doocy said that “Christianity appears to be under attack” and introduced Mark Littleton, a former pastor and author of “Big Bad God of the Bible.” (Unlike CNN, I still haven’t seen any pro Obama invite clergy on Fox but I could be wrong.) The chyron read “Notre Dame Controversy, Christian leaders protest Obama’s invite.” Doocy, who obviously doesn’t understand that the media is only reporting on religious trends, said that there has been a "confluence of anti-Christian talk" and cited the Newsweek article. Littleton said that Satan is trying to eradicate Christianity and “has gotten a strong foothold in the US.” Brian Kilmeade got to the heart of the matter when he asked if the Notre Dame invitation is “an attack on Christianity.” I was shocked (and I’m sure the boys were too) when Littleton said “we live in a nation where there is free speech…” and continued to defend the invitation while noting that Jesus “hung out” with unsavory characters in his day and that Jesus “could tolerate Obama.” Doocy wasn’t willing to let that pass and needed to get out the Fox talking point (Obama invitation baaaad) and noted that “Notre Dame is America’s pre-eminent Catholic University” and cited how the Catholic Church is “polar opposite on embryonic stem cell research and abortion” (not noting that Obama and his church agree on social justice issues). When he said that “if you going to stand for something, stand for something,” Littleton said “shouldn’t a public university stand for freedom of speech.” When Doocy said that ND wasn’t a public university, Littleton said that even a private university “should train students in free speech” and that “Christians shouldn’t shut liberals down.” While he was speaking the chyron read “Obama’s new faith group member Henry Knox, who is critical of the Pope.” (So Obama’s faith group selections need to pass a pro-Pope litmus test? There are many Protestant and Jewish clergy who, while respectful of the Pope, are critical.) A video of an anti Obama protest was shown with a quick cut to a fetus sign. Kilmeade asked if Littleton was “bothered” by Obama’s statement, in Turkey, that we’re “not a Christian nation.” While Littleton spoke, the chyron said, “Obama’s new pick, Henry Knox, describes the Pope as discredited leader.” Littleton wasn’t bothered. He said Obama was trying to be conciliatory and that America is still 70% Christian. Doocy wasn’t willing to let that that go and said, “it just does seem the media, also the president’s comments during Holy Week (?), you know targeting Catholics (?) targeting Christians” and then asked “if these comments were made during Ramadan” (WTF?). Littleton then lost some points when he said “they would be up in arms. Why is it that the only people who can’t speak up, like in Hollywood and elsewhere, are Christians and conservatives"? (uh, they get plenty of air time on Fox.) The chyron read “Is America a Christian nation, Obama says no” and “Obama in Turkey, Us not a nation of Christians.” Doocy said that these religious discussions can be found on the Fox Nation website a website for “people who love America.”

Comment: First, the meme that Christianity is being attacked by liberals is troubling as it is reminiscent of the type of propaganda that Hitler used when accusing the Jews of undermining German culture. Second, the “boys” don’t seem to know that the US was founded by men, of diverse beliefs (Anglican, Unitarian, Quaker, and a few Catholics), who were secular deists and who did not want this country to be a theocracy. Hence, there is no mention of God in the Constitution. The Treaty of Tripoli, during the Jefferson administration, stated that we are not a Christian nation. The propaganda pitched by Doocy and the chyrons were truly amazing as Henry Knox was not even a subject of the discussion and who the hell cares what he thinks about the Pope! America is religiously very diverse and the implication of the chyrons and question about “Christian nation” are very offensive to non Christians as it implies that somehow they are not included in what is defined as America. It does appear that Fox’s target audience is Christian. The propaganda intent is evident in the fact that Obama’s whole quote was not shown or discussed: "One of the great strengths of the United States," the President said, "is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Too bad Fox News doesn’t believe this.