In the Center for American Progress report, "Fear Incorporated," Fox News is described as the media enabler for Islamophobia in that it provides a platform for those who seek to create fear and loathing of Islam. But in addition to obvious purveyors of hate, like Pam Geller, it seems that Roger Ailes has tapped one of his homies to preach the anti-Islam gospel of the Fox crusade in the form of Fox priest Father Jonathan Morris who, unlike the few other clergy folks who occasionally appear on Fox, has a regular Sunday gig. During this week's Sunday sermon, the sweet faced Fr. Morris started off with what appeared to be a plea for tolerance but what then morphed into a not so subtle denunciation of Islam. And if a priests says that Islam is bad, then it must be true because on Fox, "father," knows best.
At the beginning of the segment, video was played of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking out against the recent violence towards Americans. Roger Ailes' personal attorney, litigator for the Catholic Arch-diocese of NY, Knight of Malta, and Fox "friend," Peter Johnson Jr. asked "who is really being intolerant." Father Morris said that in talking about tolerance, "religious freedom is the litmus test." The chyron had nothing to do with the discussion, which was about intolerance in the Middle East; but it reinforced the Christian right, Catholic bishops' meme that President Obama is not supporting religious freedom: "Protecting Religious Freedom, Is the President Taking the Right Stance." (Huh?) Morris then seemed to be promoting tolerance when, after stating the belief in God is a core value, he asked "is that being respected when that belief is actually different from your belief...and that is a litmus test for how we are respecting each other and how democracy is being implemented."
Famous "dick" Tucker Carlson asked Morris if he "noticed a double standard" and mentioned how "Bill Maher releases a movie attacking religion, particularly Christianity inAmerica, and America's elites are silent. Some crack-pot releases a 10 minute You Tube video attacking Islam and the president of theUnited Statesand defends the religion against it and defending Christianity that way." (Uh, Tucker, Maher's movie was done in 2008, during the Bush administration!)
Let's stop for a reality check. Bill Maher's movie "Religulous" was a gentle satire of organized religion. It did not, like the video in question, portray Jesus in a pornographic way. The movie consisted of Bill's commentary to and about the religious groups that he interviewed. Unlike the Muslim smearing video, it wasn't the cause of an international incident in which the lives of the folks at the Cairo embassy were threatened. I don't know what comments that Obama made in "defense" of Islam but he did say "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation" - a comment that seems to be in keeping with what Fr. Morris said and what was said by President Bush after the 9-11 attacks.
Morris did not want to talk about Bill Maher: "I'm always happy when Bill Maher is ignored." He then criticized the anti-Islam movie but said that had to be balanced with freedom of expression. He was emphatic about how violence should be condemned. Carlson added "amen" when Morris asserted that the movie had nothing to do with the violence and that what's worse is killing someone in the name of God. So far so good. But then Morris went straight into the patented Fox Islamophobia. He he referenced how Obama recently said that "no religion can command someone to kill an innocent person." He wished "that were the case, but some religions are really messed up." Was he referring to Islam when he said that he could create a religion that commands others to kill? He repeated "some religions are messed up and God cannot command us to kill the innocent." He claimed that "government" should say "this dictate of this organization goes against human reason" and that the government should "step in" if "a group" is being commanded to kill.
Blessed are the Fox propagandists for they shall see Roger Aisles?
The one thatâs never been met with protests from right-wing Christian groups?
…so is Christianity. Morris needs to shut the fuck up, as usual.