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Martha MacCallum & Fr.Jonathan Morris Pimp Prayer Day

Reported by Priscilla - May 7, 2010 -

There were howls of righteous anger, from the American Christian right, when the “National Day of Prayer” was ruled unconstitutional. Adding insult to injury was the rescinding of Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak, on National Prayer Day, at the Pentagon because of his past record of anti-Islamic comments – which he reiterated on Fox “opinion” News. As the mouthpiece for the religious right, Fox News provided plenty of “opinion” coverage of the insult to “real Americans” with the opinion seeping over into the Fox News format where Martha MacCallum affirmed a Franklin apologia from a right wing hate radio personality who was booted from one of his radio gigs due to his Islamophobic comments. As yesterday was National Prayer Day, MacCallum devoted another “news” segment to the Prayer Day/Graham flap. While the format was “fair and balanced,” it was clear that Martha was on the side of the angels – and Fox’s resident Roman Catholic priest, Father Jonathan Morris, who, after a brief flirtation with a liberal Catholic view of immigration, is back on the straight and narrow with his advocacy for an issue that’s near and dear to the Christian right.

Update - Yesterday, Graham, his wife, and three others prayed outside the Pentagon for five minutes.

MacCallum opened with a video of Graham (who this week mocked Hinduism) talking about how “we’re at war” (the war metaphor is big in the evangelical community) and how we “need to pray for our military.” Graham’s comments on Fox & Friends, about how Muslims are “enslaved” by their religion, weren’t on this tape which featured Graham saying that the National Day of Prayer is really about praying for those in government and not about “Islam vs. Christianity.” (For Graham it’s about everybody accepting Jesus but whatever…). MacCallum reminded folks about Graham’s disinvitation because “a watchdog group claiming that his past description of Islam, as an evil religion, might stir up Muslim extremists.” (It was also because the US Military employs Muslims who were offended by Graham’s comments which Graham hasn’t backed down from). Martha said that “the culture war” about this “goes way past this one man” and that “activists are in overdrive” (Oh, snap – propaganda point scored) “with some saying that the National Day of Prayer should be scrapped” (she frowned) "in favor of a national day of reason..” (Uh, Martha, this day of reason is done as an alternative to the day of prayer and is not connected to the government). She welcomed the Fox padre and Dan Barker from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She wanted to know what Barker’s problem was (Uh, Martha, if you read the lawsuit you might know what “the problem” is). Totally missing the point, she claimed that “a lot of people get a lot of spiritual goodness out of this even so why not just let them do it.” (Hey, Martha, let’s have federal funding for abortion!) She looked genuinely pained as she asked the question. Barker responded that private prayer is fine but government endorsed prayer isn’t. He noted that the US is a secular nation. (Oh, the blasphemy!) He’s obviously on the road to perdition because he noted that millions of Americans don’t believe in prayer and think it’s a waste of time and – ohmagawd – “prayer can be dangerous.” Stating what MacCallum should have known, he noted that the Day of Prayer was orchestrated by the Christian right. Martha summarized his statements about how prayer shouldn’t be subsidized and tossed to the cute, little Father.

Morrison was very dramatic when he asserted that he’s all in favor of a “proper separation of church and state” in which the government protects the freedom of religion and doesn’t “choose one denomination over another.” He sputtered that the Day of Prayer “has nothing to do with supporting one religion over another” and made the ludicrous claim that it has “nothing to do with religion” because it’s an expression of faith” (Yeah, C Street faith). He added that even if you have a “revisionist story” of the origins of this country (Morris was alluding to the debunked notion of “devout” Christian Founders) you can’t say “that they didn’t believe.” (They didn’t have a Prayer Day, either, cuz it started in the 50’s) "in a higher power whose help we need.” Despite the fact that Prayer Day was the brain child of the uber right wing “Family,” and overseen by Dr. Dobson’s wife, Morris said that it wasn’t fair to say it was evangelical. (Morris doesn't know that Prayer Day volunteers agree to a statement of Christian faith?). MacCallum showed a video of the Capitol steps and a gushing fountain and claimed that it was a picture of a “marathon” bible reading. (Huh?) In questioning Barker, MacCallum echoed Morris by citing founding documents which refer to a higher power which was “part of the construction” of the US and “I go back to again, you point out that 15% of Americans don’t believe in God, but 85% do so why not, you know, allow them to continue this tradition that they find, you may not find it spiritually enriching; but they do.” Barker reiterated that they can prayer in private and that a national prayer day is exclusionary to non believers. Morris jumped in with more inanity when he claimed that what Barker said would be the same thing to excluding Morris “from an event that you’re putting on.” (Uh, Father, once again, this is publicly subsidized. There is no equivalent event sponsored by secularists). Morris provided the reason for the Judge’s decision when he admitted that the “government is providing a platform for people to express what is deep and important to them” and it’s not pushing one religion over the other. He said that he wants “good people who want to ask God to help to have that possibility.”

Comment: So Martha, it’s like, you know, 85% of like everybody are all I believe in God, so why can’t we, like, use government money to praise the Lord. Cuz, like, who cares!? Snark off – Fox “News” obviously does!