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Fox News' Catholic Father Jonathan Morris Says Don't Vote For Obama?

Reported by Priscilla - May 22, 2011 -

Despite Fox's claim of being "fair & balanced," they employ, as their prominent TV religious contributor (Lauren Green, a Catholic, occasionally provides commentary) a Roman Catholic priest, Father Jonathan Morris. Despite the diversity of American religious groups, "America's Newsroom," provides an almost exclusively Catholic perspective while ignoring the different views of "non-Catholics." And while CNN and MSNBC might interview a clergy person about spiritual matters, neither of them utilize, almost exclusively, a Catholic priest in matters related to the political sphere. But given that the American Catholic hierarchy is quite conservative and the Catholic voters supported Obama (albeit with a slim margin), it's in the interests of the Catholic hierarchy to get their supporters back in line - especially regarding what seem to be the two big issues of abortion and gay marriage. And given that it's in the best interests of the GOP to bring Catholics into their fold, what better way than to have their mouthpiece, Fox News, provide a pulpit from which to instruct the "faithful" about what "Holy Father" says. As such, what better way to provide voting instructions than to have a Catholic priest tell the Fox Catholic Fox faithful what they need to know in order to have that get out Purgatory free card. It's masterful propaganda because it's not overt preaching; but rather, a "framing" of the issue in such as way as to "suggest" rather than demand. This was obvious during Morris' commentary on Sean Hannity's "Great American Panel" (May 16th) And while Morris' points were consistent with Catholic dogma, what was interesting was the point at which his commentary went from informational to political advocacy.

While Fox's hired priest, Father Morris does, sometimes, articulate views that run counter to the GOP (immigration, poverty, and labor issues), he can usually be counted on to promote Catholic teachings that dovetail with the position of the GOP such as school vouchers and abortion which is something that both the GOP and the Catholic Church want to ban. While the Catholic Church believes that abortion is the jackpot of all mortal sins, mainstream Protestant denominations and Reformed/Conservative Judaism believe in a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion. But you won't see those types of clergy on Fox which seems, in its use of just one Catholic clergy person, to be pandering to what Catholics are taught is the "one, true church." Thus, if Fox viewers are also conservative, they certainly think that if "father" says something, it must be true. Greg Gutfeld's interviews with Morris are titled "Father Knows Best" and for many Catholics, that's a canon of their faith. Morris also serves the Magesterium, in that he can be counted on to do damage control for the church such as when he told Megyn Kelly that Catholic clergy sexual abuse was no worse than abuse by public school teachers. When the Church needed to remind the faithful about the evil NY Times and evil gays who "disrupt" Masses, Morris had their back. Morris has also advanced the right wing meme that President Obama is not a satisfactory Christian and because Fox made no attempt to seek out other non Catholic clergy, the audience's doubt about Obama is reinforced because if a nice, sweet faced Catholic priest says so, it must be true.

During the healthcare debate, Morris was brought in by Hannity to say that he didn't believe that there would be no federal funding of abortion in Obama's healthcare reform package because he "doesn't trust this guy." Well, mirabile dictu, but Fox's resident priest brought up the "trust" issue during a discussion, on one of this week's Hannity shows, about possible presidential candidates. As if on cue, Hannity asked Morris if he "would support somebody who is not pro-life for President of the US." And badda boom, badda bing, Morris provided requisite talking point: "No, because I wouldn't trust his judgment. I wouldn't trust that he would make decisions made by right reason." He said it wasn't "because he's not a Christian, it's because he doesn't use the god given gift of reason to say" - are ya ready for it - "human life begins at conception and therefore we must respect it." So there you have it - the good Father establishes "personhood" as fact when it is a position held by the Catholic Church and certainly not be all American religious groups, scientists, and voters (failed Colorado "personhood" amendment.) He repeated, "I wouldn't trust his judgment." Penny Nance from Concerned Women for America said that "if you don't have compassion for the unborn, how are you going to have compassion for the rest of us." (ROFLMAO, like right wing Republicans care about the "post-born?" Puleeze!)

Comment: Pretty slick propaganda. Morris gets around the church tax exemption requirement that they not endorse specific candidates. So rather than endorse somebody, Morris says that he, personally, wouldn't vote for somebody who isn't anti-choice and surprise, surprise, as the all the GOP presidential hopefuls are anti-choice, who is the only other candidate left? You get a special News Hounds Priscilla indulgence if you answer Barack Obama. If Morris had just articulated the Catholic position (which does allow for voting for an anti-choice candidate if all candidates are anti-choice but are in accordance with Catholic teaching on other "social justice" - ewww- issues) and left it at that, I wouldn't have a problem - although I do find it unfair and unbalanced that Fox relies, almost exclusively, on a Catholic priest for analysis of " bigger news stories from an ethical dimension.” It was one thing for Morris to speak against Obama's appearance at the University of Notre Dame because of the abortion issue. But when Morris provided instruction, based on his opinion, regarding the upcoming election, I think he crossed the line and demonstrated that rather doing the Lord's work, he's shilling for Fox News and the GOP!

BTW, Is Penny Nance an idiot, or does she just play one on TV?

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