Fox News can reliably count on their one, true clergyperson, Catholic priest Father Jonathan Morris, to push whatever right wing, Christian meme that his special friend, Roger Ailes, deems necessary. But sometimes it appears that Morris takes on a contrarian opinion. However, if one listens carefully, the propaganda points are there, albeit couched in caveats and qualifiers. It's an interesting verbal dance that the theatrical Fr. Morris does quite adeptly. Last Sunday, Fox & Friends morphed the current meme that the Obama administration is waging war on Catholics vis-à-vis the HHS birth control mandate with another long standing right wing meme that Obama, a secret Muslim, might favor Muslims over other religions as seen by the administration's reaction to the controversial NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities and mosques as part of an anti-terror program. While Fr. Morris was careful in his language, the anti-Obama agitprop was evident especially in the chyron which framed the official Fox message for the piece; i.e. that the president "fights Catholics and protects Muslims." And that was all the audience really needed to know.
Alyson Camerota began with a comment about how while many in the Muslim community are outraged about the surveillance as they feel it is discriminatory; others feel that "the terror prevention methods should be embraced." Clayton Morris asked a question that, while somewhat cryptic given that religion hadn't been mentioned, provided the framing of the issue: "Why fight the values of one and help others." The chyron was "War on One Religion, Admin. Fights Catholics, Protects Muslims." (The video title was the same except for the use of White House instead of Admin.) Fr. Morris then began his homily which was a strange combination of all the important propaganda buzz words, including a reference to "religious freedom," and a caution about rushing to judgment.
Fr. Morris said that "we have to be careful that we don't make an illogical and unfair leap and say, look, President Obama has made a choice to go against what many, including myself, would be a very simple principal of religious freedom in this whole issue of this health and human service mandate on the one side but now he's defending Muslims see he's against Christians and pro-Muslim. That is not a logical leap." (So while he addressed the illogic of the "leap," he repeated what many in Foxland already believe. The "illogic" seemed to have gotten buried) He continued that "it's understandable that it seems like there's been an attack against Christian principles and the role of churches in America for the social fabric of our country but here he seems to be defending others. We have to look at them separately." (He validates the "attack on Christian principals" before separating out the Muslim issue.)
He then accused Eric Holder of being "unprofessional" for calling for an investigation based on what he read in the newspapers and this "sounds like we're running to the defense of this Muslim population because of what I've read in the newspapers." (In an attempt to smear Holder, Morris didn't note that Holder has received communications, from Muslims, regarding the surveillance. He didn't note that NJ GOP Governor Christie also has concerns.) He added that the FBI should be fair and "not allow religion to be the determining factor in who you're targeting." The rest of the discussion looked at both sides of the issue. Fr. Morris got in a plug for Fox's token "good Muslim," Dr. Zuhdi Jasser.
Just when you think that Father Morris was straying, you realize the he's still a loyal member of Fox church. My only question to Father Morris is - so you think you can dance?