Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Fr. Jonathan Morris Continues Attack On Vanderbilt Non Discrimination Policy

Reported by Priscilla - November 10, 2011 -

In October, Fox & Friends ran a mini marathon of misinformation about Vanderbilt's non-discrimination policy which states that campus groups cannot require that their leaders hold the same views as the membership. Thanks to Fox and the religious right, this latest "outrage" to persecuted Christians has reached a national level with Christian GOP members of congress weighing in. The coverage that "fair & balanced" Fox has provided has been very one sided with the principal argument being that this policy will force good Christian groups to have atheists and other servants of Satan as their leaders. This distorted and exaggerated perspective, articulated by Fox's resident and only official clergy, Fr. Jonathan Morris, avoids the real reasons why the policy was put in place; i.e. to address anti-gay discrimination which is part of the charters of four Christian campus groups. That the real issue of free speech on a private campus has been lost on Fox which focuses on what "could" happen and not what did happen. In October, Fr. Morris did his best jazz hands in accusing the non discrimination policy of being sleazy. (Funny, considering that Morris was a member of the very sleazy Legion of Christ whose members facilitated the debauchery of their founder). And last Sunday, Morris was back with mor anti-Vanderbilt histrionics which, once again, avoided the real issue in order to advance the ongoing Fox meme of persecuted Christians.

The Vanderbilt policy is part of the larger non-discrimination policy that requires that campus groups cannot discriminate against a number of categories which include sexual orientation. After a gay university student was forced to leave his fraternity, the school reviewed the constitutions of campus groups for compliance with the policy. The only four that are not in compliance are Christian groups who oppose homosexuality on biblical grounds and whose regulations require that their leaders hold this view. These groups are on provisional status and if their status is denied, they could end up loosing university recognition and funding. Despite the Vanderbilt Catholic group being in compliance with the policy, they are concerned that when they redo their constitution they will be found out of compliance. And that's what the little Fox priest is all a twitter about.

As in the other pieces, the topic was framed as a rule that says that Vanderbilt must allow a person of any faith to lead the group. The policy actually says that organizations must “refrain from discriminating in membership selection, officer or adviser appointments, or practices of organizational activities on the basis of race...or sexual orientation." Father Morris was off and running. Rather than explain the backstory to the policy, he said that he didn't "have to explain why that's controversial." Jazz hands a flutter, he repeated the same talking points that he covered in his last homily; i.e. this will force organizations to take, as leaders, those outside their faith community. Morris discussed how the Vanderbilt Catholic group is saying that they can't continue their organization if they are required to have non-Catholics to be in a leadership position. The chyron which set the message, "Denying Religious Freedom," was followed by the perfunctory atheist reference: "Crusade Against Religion, Policy: Athiest Can Lead Christian Group."

After Fr. Morris stressed that tolerance is important, Clayton Morris remarked about how the school's attempt to be tolerant is getting them in trouble. Father Morris became very animated when he informed the viewers that the Catholic Club kids would be praying the rosary, in front of an administration building, while the Vandy Board of Trustees reviews this policy. Fr. Morris dramatically intoned his hope that alumni and donors will say "is that what it means to be respectful and tolerant..." so that "religious organizations can be who they are." He asked if we have "real religious liberty."

Comment: So let me get this straight. According to Fox's one true priest, religious liberty is about allowing religious groups to be homophobic? One thing is for sure. Fr. Morris' parish is just steps away from Broadway. If he loses his Fox gig, there's always musical theatre!


submit to reddit