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Steve Doocy & Peter Johnson Jr. Take Sides Against ACLU

Reported by Priscilla - May 18, 2011 -

While the right wing worships the Second Amendment, they're really not fans of the First - especially when it comes to that pesky "wall of separation" between church and state. As such, they're not big fans of the ACLU which acts to prevent that wall from being breached. But once again, some unnamed evildoers complained about religious intrusion into the public sphere and once again, that darned ACLU is trying to spoil things. I knew, as soon as I saw the article on yesterday's Fox News website, that Fox & Friends would be hot on the trail of the story about how the ACLU is threatening to sue a New Jersey school district because of a complaint regarding the Christian imagery in the school graduation venue - which includes a 20 foot Christian cross over the door of the "Great Auditorium" that is owned by a Methodist Association as is all of Ocean Grove. (Fun fact - this is where Woody Allen filmed "Stardust Melodies," one of my all time favorite movies!). So there you have it. It wasn't surprising which side was taken by the good Christian soldiers on Fox & Friends. As part of the "culture war," ain't no war like a war on the ACLU and Fox & Friends is there to fight.

The Christian right hates the ACLU and Fox "News" is the mouthpiece for Jesus' BFF's. As such, the title of the video "frames" the issue with the requisite propaganda message: "ACLU Threatens High School Graduation." These words were repeated on the introductory chyron as Steve Doocy reported on the issue. He began by citing how graduations have taken place in the "historic landmark" for 70 years; but the ACLU is claiming that the religious imagery in the building violates separation of church and state. While he spoke, the graphic on the side of the chyron was a "gif" of a mortar board followed by a Christian cross. This was continued during the entire piece. Doocy tossed to Fox legal analyst, another good Christian, Peter Johnson Jr. who was live at Ocean Grove. When Doocy said that all of the land in Ocean Grove is owned "by the church," Johnson presented Fox's opening argument when he asserted ownership is held by a lay association; so "it's not directly a church organization." He continued with a not so subtle framing of the issue on behalf of those who support the venue: "What we have here is a struggle. 70 years of Neptune High School graduation now perhaps in peril by an ACLU move." He referenced how the ACLU wants the cross, "put up right after World War II," and the interior bible verses about "being holy that go back to Leviticus" covered. Another incendiary chyron: "Grad Ceremony Site Under Fire." Johnson said that this was a "classic showdown" and nobody is "going to back down" because the association is not agreeing to take down the cross.

Johnson continued to argue for the defense with "the truth is this is a mixed use facility" as well as a religious landmark where "Bill Graham and other great ministers like William Jennings Bryan" preached. He said that it is a "civic, cultural landmark" and - are ya ready for it - "the people in this community are saying should the will of a few overcome the will of 3,000 people that want to attend the graduation." Doocy said "exactly" and commented about how "one or two students" from last year's graduation complained to the ACLU. He read a statement from the school department and mentioned that Christian hymns have been removed from the program. Johnson rendered this judgment after having "looked at these issues hard." He said he doesn't believe that there is "an excessive entanglement between religion and the state" and no attempt to endorse one religion over another. He said that this was the "overwhelming sentiment of the residents whom he has interviewed. He said that "the ACLU, in my mind, has done it again" but unlike other cases which were settled in favor of the ACLU, this one is different.

Comment: Using Johnson's argument about "the will of the people, one could say that a majority of red staters probably opposed interracial marriage when the Supreme Court made their historic ruling in "Loving." But hey, if Fox's legal analyst says that the majority should rule, then I guess that's the way it goes. I would think that big crosses and exhortations from Leviticus are religious so go figure! At least the verses aren't the ones about putting homosexuals to death. At least the school department dropped the "Onward Christian Soldiers" hymn from the program. And it does provides some nice material for the Fox & Friends Christian soldiers with which to reinforce that old time religious hatred for the ACLU so it's all good....


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