Along with being an arm of the GOP, Fox News has lately taken up the banner of the Catholic Church in its fight against the HHS contraception mandate. For both the conservative, US Conference of Catholic Bishops (not Obama fans) and Fox, it's a divine quid-pro-quo. The Church gets its message proclaimed on a national "news" network while Fox, on behalf of the GOP, gets to bash the Obama administration which is portrayed as waging war against Catholics who will, presumably, join the GOP congregation. Since the policy was announced, it seemed like not a week went by without Fox's professional conservative Catholic Fox & Friends guys opining on a topic pertaining to ladyparts that they and their bishop pals don't have. This morning, Catholic Knight of Malta Peter Johnson Jr. and Brian Kilmeade, one of many conservative Catholics in Fox's media tool box, virtually shouted Hosannas in the highest for the plethora of lawsuits filed by Catholic dioceses and colleges against the Obama administration. Once again, ideology trumped reason. But then this is Fox & Friends so it's all good.
On this morning's Fox & Friends' "Prescription for Justice" segment, Brian Kilmeade could hardly contain his Catholic and anti-Obama fervor as he shouted that Catholic institutions weren't "backing down from the big mandate." He leaned into the camera as he loudly snarled about the Catholic organizations who are saying that the president's accommodation, on the HHS mandate, "is not enough." He played video of Fox fave, the uber-reactionary Cardinal Dolan's remark about how Obama admitted that "there should be exemptions for churches." The chyron framed the message for the Catholic viewers: "Fighting for Faith, Suit: HC Lawsuit Goes Against Religious Freedom." Kilmeade asked Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. if the church has a case. Johnson's answer was quite predictable.
Johnson said (Quelle surprise!) that the case is "strong." He noted "for full disclosure" that he has represented some of these organizations. (He litigated on behalf of Dolan's archdioces). Pete is making progress. In the old days, as your humble correspondent reported, he neglected, for the most part, to make this disclosure! He was gleeful in describing how the lawsuits contend that the Obama administration "has engaged in discrimination against churches and religious organizations that believe in what the Catholic Church believes." (In this case, evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews - not mainline Protestants and the rest of the Jewish community who support the mandate.) He then provided the money quote for the segment when he said that the lawsuits "point to Kathleen Sebelius' conduct declaring a war and talking about a war." He repeated his belief that the lawsuits will be successful. Kilmeade said "right" as Johnson summarized the content of the suits and declared the HHS mandate "unconstitutional."
When Kilmeade referenced Notre Dame's lawsuit, Johnson said it was "huuge." As he spoke the chyron was "Prescription for Truth." (I'm confused, I thought it was "justice.") He claimed "people are banding together" and saying that it's not about birth control. (Really?) For the seemingly hundredth time, Johnson reiterated the bishops' talking point that it's about - ready for it - "religious liberty" and right of religious groups to worship freely. (Uh, hospitals and schools aren't about worship, are they?) He blithered that priests and nuns are saying that they have civil rights "and it shouldn't be sullied and we shouldn't be made fun of and we should have the right to do what we need to do." Kilmeade blithered about "unbelievable things happening this week."
Once again, no mention was made that the Catholic nun, who heads a Catholic hospital association, is on board with the mandate as are the "Clergy for Choice." No mention was made of the California Catholic Charities losing their law suit regarding mandatory birth control coverage. No mention was made of the NY Catholic Church losing their law suit regarding the state mandate on birth control coverage. Johnson didn't mention that the policy allows these institutions to drop coverage. He also didn't mention, as did MSNBC's legal analyst, Pete Williams, that the courts might not even hear the cases because the policy won't be in effect for a year. But hey, when ideology trumps facts, all bets are off. Unlike the last one, the Catholic Church's newest crusade will be televised glory be to the father, son, and Roger Ailes!
Remember viewers, Vatican First, USA maybe. We live within the Holy Roman Empire of Total Obedience. In case you didn’t get that just get this straight – men will decide how women conduct themselves, that’s why the We pin the blame for our fall from grace on Eve.