Fox's Peter Johnson Jr., as a Catholic Knight of Malta, is certainly a peer of the realm as he is always fighting valiantly for his liege lords in the United State Council of Catholic Bishops whose mission from God is to fight the HHS birth control mandate. The head of the USCCB is fox fave Cardinal Timothy Dolan who employs Johnson as a litigator - a factoid that Johnson has only admitted on one occasion. That Johnson has become the Bishop's unofficial spokesperson for this issue is evident in his nine Fox & Friends segments in support of the bishops. Yesterday morning, on Fox & Friends, Johnson again asserted that the health care policy is "unconstitutional." Despite the name of his series, which varies between Prescription for Truth and Prescription for Justice, there is little of either given his omission of relevant information regarding support for the mandate - some of it from Catholics. As usual, his bobble headed wingman was fellow uterus free Catholic male, Steve Doocy. But what was really funny was that both he and Doocy apparently sourced their main talking point, not from the bishops, but from a right wing blog, "Hot Air." As was said in that great film classic, "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "that proves it."
Despite a recent NY Times poll which shows that 65% of those polled support the HHS mandate, Steve Doocy began by triumphantly citing a Gallup poll which shows that 72% of Americans think that the mandate is unconstitutional. As most Americans are not constitutional scholars and the Supreme Court doesn't make decisions based on polls, this stat doesn't seem particularly useful except to support the Johnson's arguments on behalf of the bishops. He reported that a "leading Catholic leader says the mandate could mean the end of Catholic universities and hospitals." He tossed to Sir Peter Johnson who reported that Chicago Cardinal Francis George says that Catholic institutions might have to close rather than violate their religious beliefs and the constitution. Doocy said sure when Johnson praised the bishop's position as "forthright."
Doocy was very emphatic in his commentary about all the services provided, by Catholic institutions, to the poor. He didn't mention that they also receive federal money in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, and grants. He asserted that this is all about "principal." Johnson agreed that the social safety net has "been sustained by religious institutions." He didn't note that many religious groups agree with the mandate. He articulated the talking points of the bishops and the GOP that it's not about contraception but about the constitution. As he spoke, Doocy said, "sure," "yeah," "right."
But then Doocy provided the money comment for the piece. He said - are ya ready for it - "I read a blog last night that this could be the intent of the Obama administration. They just want the Catholic institutions to close. Johnson said he read the same thing and that "the commentary of hundreds of people who write into these blogs, they say yeah, that's the point of what's going on." He said he hoped that wasn't the case and that suits have been filed by institutions that want the president to "respect the Constitution" and the rights of Catholics "to practice their religion."
Once again, Johnson and Doocy present only the bishop's position while neglecting to mention support for the mandate among other faith communities. While Johnson keeps whining about "constitutionality," he conveniently omits reference to how courts "in two of the 20 states that offer exemptions to contraceptive coverage for insurers and employers, New York and California, have found conscience clauses like the HHS interim rule affecting only houses of worship to be constitutional." None of Johnson's segments have included anybody to argue that this is, as argued by Amanda Marcotte, "not about religious liberty." Rather, they sourced "Hot Air," a blog founded by Michelle Malkin, to present the case that those poor bishops will have to close the doors of huge Catholic institutions rather than submit to the tyranny of the Obama administration. Pulleezzze.....Hot air, indeed!
Vatican in charge