Perhaps the biggest bogus meme of the Christian right is that their religious freedom is under attack by forces of evil, secular "political correctness." As their mouthpiece, Fox News is doing all they can to aid and abet. Earlier this week, uber Christian warrior Gretchen Carlson presented the sixth in a string of Fox & Friends attacks on Vanderbilt which focused on what is seen as an "assault on religious liberty by - you guessed it - "political correctness." The policy was put in place after a gay student was ousted from a Christian group's leadership because he was gay. So far, that hasn't been mentioned on Fox & Friends who, today, had their sixth installment in their Vanderbilt hates Christians series during which a Christian Republican student got to whine about the policy. However, unlike anything done by Gretchen Carlson, atheists weren't mentioned.
Alysin Camerota framed the message with a statement of Fox "fact" that Vanderbilt is "clamping down on religious freedom." She then showed part of the video, shown during the last Fox & Friends attack on Vanderbilt, done by - wait for it - Vanderbilt College Republicans whining about how they're being dissed for their "faith." The chyron: "Losing Their Religion, Vanderbilt Under Fire For New Policy." Clayton Morris introduced his guest - wait for it - Abby Sutton, a Vanderbilt College Republican who wants the community to know that she and her fellow young GOPers are very "frustrated." The chyron: "Fighting for Faith, Students Protest New Vanderbilt Policy."
Camerota explained that this is a non-discrimination policy "that leaders of any particular religious group don't need to have a belief system in order to be a leader." She asked Abby "what's wrong with that." (Gretch would say that it means that atheists can take over the group!) The chyron further defined the Fox message: "Assault on Religious Liberty, Students Urge Vanderbilt to Change Policies." Sutton said that she and her pals believe that "religious groups can choose leaders based on religious beliefs" and "it doesn't make sense that they're not allowed to select leaders based on their religious beliefs." Morris read a statement from Vanderbilt. Sutton claimed that the school isn't being clear. She then gave a hypothetical example of a Muslim member of a Muslim group who, over the summer, converts to Christianity and then tries to evangelize their Muslim group in the fall. She asserted that the policy doesn't allow the group to ask the student to resign.
Sutton didn't mention that anybody can "run" in a group's election. Ergo, if the group doesn't want a particular person, they don't have to vote for him/her. And students, experiencing summer conversions, really? The bottom line is that the school, which funds the groups, has a non-discrimination policy. Some Christians groups were not in compliance with the policy so it needed further clarification and Christian groups aren't happy. One student, whose letter appears in "Inside Vandy," says it eloquently: "All the administration asks is that school-sponsored groups do not exclude people because of their religious beliefs: that's why it is called non-discrimination: Being concerned about the identity of a a student organization is one thing, but portraying Vanderbilt as an malignant persecutor of faith and religious students as helpless martyrs is nothing short of fanaticism. Don't get me wrong: there is nothing inappropriate about wanting to protect the integrity of a community. But if these groups continue to play the victim in this conflict instead of pursuing a viable solution, at the end of the day, they may not have much integrity left."
A hearty, secular "amen" to that!