Despite the religious diversity of America, Fox News does seem to pander to the conservative Catholic Church. Whether it's a way to put the imprimatur on conservative issues and thus bring the Catholic sheaves into the Republican party or just Murdoch's ongoing gratitude for papal knighthood, it's apparent that Fox provides a pulpit for American Catholic bishops who seem more concerned about women's reproductive systems and gay marriage than poverty. That Fox has less than six degrees of separation from the US Council of Catholic bishops, second only to AIPAC as a powerful and well funded lobby group, was seen in Catholic Maltese Knight Peter Johnson Jr.'s unrebutted articulation of the bishops talking points regarding the new HHS mandate that employer health plans cover contraception with no co-payment. The Catholic Church has been given a year to sort things out and Fox's only official clergy contributor, Fr. Jonathan Morris, is outraged. Today's Fox & Friends Sunday homily was full of the same agitprop pimped by Johnson - along with a shout out to the Catholic Newt Gingrich. Women won a victory with the Obama policy - but that's not how Fox sees it.
After Alisyn Camerota read a statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Foxpriest (and Tim Tebow fan) emphatically said "it's outrageous" that Sebelius said the decision struck "middle ground" in giving the church a year to "get ready to violate their conscience." He whined about the small exemption for churches and asked if even non-Catholics would want to pay for contraception that includes Plan B which Morris claimed was an "abortifacient." Morris is not telling the whole truth. While the Catholic Church considers Plan B an abortion drug because it prevents implantation of the fertilized egg (a "baby"), the medical community does not, as it defines pregnancy as beginning at implantation. Morris didn't tell the whole truth when he said that employers have to buy into it. They have the option of not providing any insurance; but if they choose that option they need to pay monthly "assessments" which assist their employees to choose their own plan.
Morris described the policy as an "offense" and repeated the bishops contention that this "violates religious liberty." He claimed the bishops are going to "fight" and that this will become a campaign issue when the Catholic Gingrich will "blast" Obama. Morris added that he hoped Romney would do the same. The agitprop chyron defined the issue: "Battle over Faith." Morris said that the bishops are saying that "this is an issue that the Obama administration got wrong." He added that Catholics who supported "Obamacare" oppose the policy, as well as others "who believe in religious liberty." He predicted a "united front" against the policy which he feels is a "big mistake politically" and "a big issue." In what could be, maybe, possibly a political promotion, Morris mentioned that Newt Gingrich has referenced "religious liberty." In a truly LOL moment, Camerota thanked Morris for "explaining it all." (Does she read moi?)
Obviously, this is an interesting issue relating to of "religious liberty" (in this case Catholic teaching) can trump the rights of women to receive reproductive health care. There is a question of whether the health care of non-Catholic employees of the Catholic Church should be subject to Catholic fiat. Does the church have the right to deny women free access, through their health plan, to medications that are legal? But these questions were lost in Fr. Morris' promotion of the position of the bishops who, as celibate men (a-hem), don't need to pay for their birth control in order to space their family and thus have a better quality of life. This issue is many faceted; but not for Fox which, in its pursuit of "controversy," keeps it simple. As Fr. Morris preached, this is an issue which, for Fox, is just another in a long line of wedge issues used to pimp right wing propaganda or perhaps a Gingrich candidacy. Father knows best....
Of course, some people think the greater good would be better served by women being forced to carry rapists’ babies to term or breed until they dropped.