In presenting culture war issues, Fox & Friends seems quite adept at twisting the facts to suit whatever agenda is being promoted. In their fairly extensive and biased coverage of the VanderbiltUniversitynon-discrimination policy, they totally ignored the basis for the policy; i.e. a case in which a student was ousted from a religious fraternity because he is gay. Fox & Friends also played the bogus argument that evil atheists would be able to lead Christian fraternities which ignored the reality that the college wasn't setting requirements for leadership of campus groups but requiring that groups not discriminate in initial membership selection. Recently, during a mediation in a long running suit involving the posting of the 10 Commandments in a public school, the judge suggested that the four Commandments which mention God should be eliminated. Not only was this discussed on "The Five," but it was the subject for Fox's one true clergyman, Catholic Fr. Jonathan Morris' weekly Sunday homily on Fox & Friends. As usual on Fox & Friends, the actual substance of the issue - separation of church and state - not mentioned. But rather, a mere suggestion by a judge was blown totally out of proportion.
On yesterday's Fox & Friends, the opening chyron set the Fox message with patented Fox word use: "Commandment Controversy, Should they be scaled back?" The gang chuckled after video was played of the part of Mel Brook's "History of the World," in which Moses dropped one of three tablets and ended up with just Ten Commandments. Clayton Morris twisted the truth when he claimed that the judge said "we'll just have four Commandments." It was a suggestion as noted on the Fox chyron, "Thou Shall Not Erase, Judge Suggests 6 Commandments Instead of 10." which was followed by a contradictory chyron: "Holy Moses, Judge Wants Four Commandments Taken Out." Clayton Morris quipped "God is the problem in the Commandments." After Fr. Morris, not a constitutional lawyer, said that "bad theology makes a bad task manager," he added that a "bad philosophy of constitutional is a bad task master because you come up with stupid ideas and suggestions." He opined that a historical document should not be edited. Another clever chyron: "Stop the Sculpting, Judge Suggests School Put Up Six Commandments." I'm confused - is the judge suggesting or ordering?
He blamed this line of thinking on "political correctness gone awry" in which any expression of religion is bad for the country." Alysin Camerota read a statement from the ACLU in which they state that preference for one religion "diminishes other faiths." Fr. Morris cited court decisions which mandated that if one religion is to be represented, symbols of other faiths must also be represented and that is a "fair proposal." (He was referring to creches and displays of the Commandments on public property). What the little Fox priest doesn't seem to know is that in 1980 the Supreme Court said that the posting of the 10 Commandments, in public schools, is unconstitutional. He dramatically intoned that editing the 10 Commandments in school is "bad."
Clayton Morris didn't understand how showing preference for one religion is an affront to others not of that faith. (So posting Muslim prayers in public schools is fine?). He wanted to know how other faiths are diminished. Good Catholic Morris (whose Hail Mary's wouldn't be too popular posted in schools with a majority Jewish or evangelical Protestant population) said "that's a good point." He added that while we don't want the government to "establish" a religion we want the government to "allow us to practice, to have the free exercise of religion and not to establish one over the other."
So rather than deal in the actual details of the case, the Fox & Friends focus was on an arguably silly suggestion by a judge during a mediation process. Once again, Fr. Morris provided his audience with misinformation in order to suggest that having the 10 Commandments in schools is just dandy. Once again, the ever popular meme of evil "political correctness" was invoked on Fox & Friends. Holy Moses - or is it Holy Shit!
While FoxNoise has an overabundance of Catholics (not just among its paid bobbleheads, but also its quasi-official religious spokesman), I’d be willing to bet the majority of the network’s viewers are Protestant evangelicals. The Catholic interpretation of the Big 10 differs from the Protestant interpretation (Catholics interpret “I am the Lord” as the First Commandment and the injunction on graven images as the Second while Protestants interpret those as a single Commandment; conversely, Catholics regard all “coveting” as the 10th while Protestants split the coveting into two separate Commandments—one dealing with someone’s “house,” the other dealing with everything else).
And, of course, Jesus only highlights 5 of these 10 as really important (honor mom and dad, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, no false witness; per Matthew 19: 16-19) and Paul—the guy whose words seem to be considered MORE important by the Evangelical right-wingers—even reiterates this (Romans 13: 8-10).
And I guess we really don’t need to bring up the SECOND recounting of the Ten Commandments (the first being the rendering in Exodus 20). The arrangement of the Deuteronomy 5 version isn’t all that different from the Exodus account but some wording is different (the first version starts off with not coveting your neighbor’s house—which the Catholics count as a separate Commandment—while the second version begins with “not desiring” your neighbor’s wife before the “not coveting” anything else) and there’s a whole line reminding the Hebrews of their time as Egyptian slaves (oddly, the first version uses the Creation account as the reason for a Sabbath day while the second, using the reminder of slavery, seems to explain why your “servants” should get a “day of rest,” especially as the servants are the last on the list of to whom the Sabbath observation extends).
Even the usual depiction of the two tablets seems to be incorrect according to some theologies. Jewish traditions suggest the original two tablets were, essentially, God’s original and Moses’ copy (just why God would give Moses both copies isn’t really explained; I know when I sign an agreement, I just get one copy and the other party keeps their copy—I don’t get to take their copy and show it off). Per this interpretation, ALL of the “Ten Commandments” were written on just one tablet.
But, in the long run, I just wonder where the Ten Commandments is posted in the FoxNoise building? Has anyone ever seen a PROMINENTLY displayed copy in the studio? Do any of the bobbleheads have their own personal copies in their wallets? If the 10 Commandments is good enough to be posted in schools and courthouses, then the document certainly deserves to be prominently displayed in the FoxNoise studios (and routinely shown off to the rubes).
1. Do not worship any other Gods, except of course for Wrinkled Rupert Murdick.
2. Do not murder, except for baby killers like Dr. Tiller who deserve it.
3. Do not commit adultery. That 12-year old altar boy with the nice ass doesn’t count.
4. Do not testify falsely against thy neighbor. But lie and smear endlessly against that Muslim, secular, gay-loving black guy occupying the White House.