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Steve Doocy Says Christians Don’t Have First Amendment Rights In Schools

Reported by Priscilla - March 26, 2010 -

Along with death and taxes, the other constant is Fox & Friends taking up the cross for Jesus and persecuted Christians – be it school prayer at graduation, cheerleading Bible verse banners, Christian content in the Texas social studies curriculum, a Christian student upset by "pro-gay" classroom posters, a teacher who couldn't play a Christian hymn for her dance class, or the Christian cross on public grounds. And because the morning pals are such good Christians, they make no secret of their support for these causes. This morning, good Christian Steve Doocy got to do a little testifying, on behalf of persecuted Christians, during his segment regarding the recent refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the case of a Washington student whose high school wind ensemble was denied the opportunity to play “Ave Maria” at their high school graduation. He also allowed a Christian fundamentalist lawyer to make all kinds of claims regarding how Christianity is being suppressed in our public schools along with some proselytizing on behalf of persecuted Christian teachers. And in defending the cause, Steve Doocy was not exactly throwing a “Hail Mary Pass!”

While the strains of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” were playing Doocy said “I love Ave Maria.” He then introduced the topic – “a student who was refused the right to perform Ave Maria at her commencement ceremony.” (Uh, playing Ave Maria isn’t a “right”) But here’s the thing – if Doocy and his staff had done their homework, they would have found out that the Ave Maria in question was not Schubert’s but the one written by Franz Biebl! Because the Court refused to hear the case, Doocy wanted to know what this means for free speech. Doocy introduced the student, Kathryn Nurre and her attorney John Whitehead from the Rutherford Institute, the group that defended Paula Jones in her suit against Bill Clinton. Nurre said that school administrators told her the title of the song was too religious. Good Christian Steve noted that Ave Maria translated to Hail Mary and asked her if the school sings “God Bless America.” When she said that they probably did so in a choir performance, Doocy said “I bet you’re right.” (Uh, Steve – while “God” is a fairly generic term, “Hail Mary” is a prayer used only by Roman Catholics). Doocy’s partisanship couldn’t have been more obvious when he asked Whitehead about why the Court “denied her her First Amendment rights.” He said that the school superintendent “didn’t know what Hail Mary meant. She thought it might be religious.” (D’uuuuh!!!). He added that the courts, involved in this case, upheld the school’s rationale that somebody in the audience might be offended. He added that throughout the country “schools are erasing religion and the courts are upholding them.” (“Establishment Clause,” John?) Doocy, not a constitutional scholar – but a stalwart Christian – did the Fox “reach around” when he said, "what it stacks up is that people don’t have their First Amendment right in school." Obviously, Whitehead agreed. Doocy nodded in agreement while Whitehead, without any substantiation claimed that “kids in the hallway can’t talk about Jesus” because teachers are saying that it’s illegal. When he added that what we’re seeing in this country is a secularized school system, Steve said “sure.” Whitehead reinforced the popular Fox meme that “Christmas can’t be celebrated in our schools” and added that “Easter’s gone and schools are objecting to Thanksgiving.” Good Christian Steve sighed and said “oh, boy.”

But then came the piece de resistance with Doocy citing conservative Justice Alito’s minority opinion. LOL – the right wing mocked President Obama when, duirng his SOTU speech, he cited the minority opinion, in a recent SCOTUS decision, that the ruling would open the door to foreign corporations. In response to Doocy’s prompts about how disappointed she is, Nurre referenced how the preceding year’s seniors selected a hymn and that was allowed. What she didn’t add was that the inclusion of this Negro Spiritual resulted in "complaints from graduation attendees and at least one angry letter to the editor of a local newspaper.” Whitehead said that the court decision means that in the schools, there is no longer any religious freedom” and that communities should support teachers who put “God bless America” on the bulletin boards and are then told to take it down and those students who can’t mention Jesus. He said that “we just have to file more lawsuits.” (Golly, I didn’t think conservatives support unfettered litigation). Good Christian Doocy concluded with this gem “turns out freedom of speech is not so free in some cases.” (Cue the end of “Me and Bobby McGee!)

Comment: Could this have been any more one sided? But then, this is Fox & Friends the go to show for persecuted Christians. It would have been interesting to hear the take, on this issue, from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They assert that music, dance and so forth are forms of speech “if the court have accepted the case and ruled on Nurre’s behalf, the decision would have had a wider application and could have granted public school students sweeping new rights to impose prayer, Bible reading and other forms of religious worship on captive audiences at school-sponsored events.” But for Fox & Friends, the only rights worth talking about are those of persecuted Christians. Somehow I don't think Steve Doocy would be as supportive of the Mississippi lesbian who was told, by her school, that she couldn't wear a tuxedo at and couldn't take her girlfriend to the senior prom. Anyway,onward Christian soldiers…!