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Steve Doocy Attacks RI ACLU Over “Inspirational” Public School “Prayer” Banner?

Reported by Priscilla - July 23, 2010 -

The right wing, particularly the Christian right, hate – I mean really, really, hate – the ACLU which, in their minds, attacks all those things near and dear to Christians and which are a violation of the “Establishment Clause.” These “patriots” claim to revere the Constitution; but the First Amendment – not so much. They get passionate about this to the point where one fine fellow (Fox watcher?), who was allegedly heading to the ACLU to enact a “Second Amendment solution,” was arrested in California. There are still some folks who refer to the ACLU as the “ACLJew” because of the presence of Jewish lawyers who, supposedly, are part of a cabal to take down Christianity. There is a website called "Stop the ACLU." Aiding and abetting the fear and loathing of the ACLU is Fox “News.” Along with O’Reilly and Hannity, the good Christians on Fox & Friends are there to stand against the evil ACLU which has taken a case, in Cranston RI, that involves a complaint against an “inspirational banner” in Cranston West high school. The basis of the complaint is that the inspirational words start with “Heavenly Father” and end with “amen” – ergo a Christian prayer on tax payer supported property. But for Fox & Friends, this is sacrosanct stuff which is being attacked by a group that they attack all the time. This morning, Steve Doocy interviewed a Cranston school committee member who supports the banner. Not surprisingly, he and his chyrons provided good, Christian affirmation about the ACLU “attack.”

This morning’s segment was classic Christian Fox & Friends with Steve Doocy taking the "Christian side" and inflammatory chyrons geared to get those righteous Christian juices flowing. Doocy began by saying that the banner has been hanging at the high school for 52 years and “is now in danger of being banned because of a lawsuit threated by the ACLU.” He cited some “inspirational phrases” but noted that it begins with “Heavenly Father” and ends with “amen” which is why the ACLU is “crying foul.” (Ya think!) Steve did the perfunctory summary of the issue just to make sure that you’re good and mad. He referenced how the banner has been around since 1958” (back in the good old days of public school prayer) “and said that a parent, whose child doesn’t go to the school, is objecting. Check out the clever chyron: “Preying On a Prayer, RI ACLU Asks High School To Remove Banner.” (LOL – the chyron even says that it’s a prayer. Case closed!) School Committee Member Frank Lombardi agreed. The next chyron really shows you which demographic Fox & Friends is preaching to: “School’s Heavenly Message, District May Change Inspirational Banner.” Lombardi said the school board doesn’t have a position because there has been no public forum. Doocy launched into anti ACLU mode with “if you were going to cave to the ACLU all you need is a bucket of paint to paint over it; but this means so much to so many people in your community, doesn’t it?” Chyron also full tilt Christian agitprop: “Inspirational Prayer Atttacked, RI ACLU Wants Banner Removed From High School” As Lombardi responded another “Heavenly Message” chyron appeared. Lombardi said that all the messages he received are in support of the “positive message” which I’m sure all the students take inspiration from! Lombardi agreed with Doocy that the school couldn’t afford to fight the case. More anti ACLU agitprop in the chyron: “ACLU Attacks School Sign, Banner Reads ‘Our Heavenly Father’.” Lombardi agreed with Doocy’s statement that “the fear of a lawsuit has you wondering what you’re gonna do.” Doocy read a comment from the RIACLU regarding a compromise. Lombardi said the ACLU wants it removed and he has a problem with the removal of the messages in the text of the prayer (which is what it is). He did admit that just the “heavenly father” and “amen” might be removed.

Comment: Funny, Doocy didn’t mention that Cranston School Committee Chairman, Michael A. Traficante comments that “If it’s a violation of the First Amendment, we have no choice but to remove it” and that “It doesn’t need to say Heavenly Father.” But that would have cut the agitprop buzz. Once again, as with the Montana health curriculum, Fox “News” has publicized a local issue in order to reinforce right wing hatred of a group that defends the First Amendment. I suspect Doocy sent his kids to Catholic schools where prayer and religious iconogrpahy is perfunctory so that’s fine. (As a graduate of 12 years of Catholic school, I can attest that prayers and iconography don’t mean jack; but I digress). What part of “prayer doesn’t belong in public schools doesn’t Doocy understand? Funny, when the lil morning Christians are interviewing lawyers, from Christian law firms, who are suing for some perceived Christian persecution, the word “attack” is not used to describe what they’re doing. Words mean something and the words used in the Fox chyrons certainly support whatever culture club complaint that the morning Jesus campers are pushing. Wonder if the RI ACLU experienced an uptick in death threats and other harassing communications after this morning’s Fox & Friends- praise the Lord!

Addendum: Do you think Doocy and his audience would be as supportive of a Muslim prayer on the wall of a public school?

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