For Roger Ailes, Fr. Jonathan Morris is the total package. Not only does the cute little Catholic priest, the only clergyperson with a full time Fox News gig, pimp for the conservative Catholic bishops and the GOP; but he also promotes the message of evangelical Christianity. He provided his Fox imprimatur for Gov. Rick Perry's prayer rally. He promoted a website run by evangelicals. He spoke at an evangelical rally attended by various Christian homophobes and co-sponsored by his pal, James Robison, a Christian homophobe on whose TV program, Morris accepted Jesus. This morning, on his weekly Fox & Friends appearance, he not only defended what is considered an effort to proselytize public school students; but he also described those who are protesting this as "ignorant." He even tried to drum up business for a right wing Christian law group. As is customary on Fox & Friends, the segment omitted some key details. But hey, this is Fox & Friends, praise the lord and pass the propaganda!
Today, Fox & Friends Morris segment began with the snippet, from Charlie Brown's Christmas, in which Linus quotes from one of the Nativity gospels and decides that he's rejecting the commercialization of Christmas. The accompanying chyron states "Good Grief, Charlie Brown in the Middle of Religious Fight." Dave Briggs said "love it" and reported that "Charlie Brown is smack in the middle of a church and state fight" because some parents are "fighting an Arkansas elementary school's field trip to see a stage production of Charlie Brown at a church." What wasn't reported is that this is an evangelical church and that in the memo sent home to parents, the school admitted that the play "does expose your child to Christianity through some of the songs and scenes."
After introducing Fox's one true priest, Morris, Dave Briggs, and Alisyn Camerota all gushed about how that scene makes them feel so good. When Camerota referenced Christian language in the show, Morris, a celibate Catholic priest, asked if he would be afraid of "his children" going to see a story of Judaism. The "Cavuto marked" chyron pimped the Fox message: "War on Christmas? Parents Upset About Church Field Trip." He responded to his question: "Absolutely not, the fact that we have the right to free speech for all means that there's going to be an opportunity and a probablity that there will also be people who are stupid, ignorant, and totally out of line things like protesting the fact that Charlie Brown is going to be presented and his Christmas story presented to kids."
He recommended that parents "take it easy and understand that you don't have to stand up for the very small minority who are making a big thing out of a very small thing." He wanted to know "who would be afraid of kids going to watch a classic." He advised parents to talk to the principal and "stand up" and recommend that they seek help from the right wing Christian ADF legal group who will "defend your rights in our country to live the faith that you believe in or just to accept a diverse view in a holiday season that is obviously a Christian season." (So, screw you Jews with your Hanukkah!)
Briggs read a portion of a statement from the school administration that mentioned that the kids can opt out. He didn't mention that a Little Rock attorney said that public schools should "not be promoting one brand of religion over another" and that opting out "exposes the children of minority faiths and outlooks to majority pressure and victimization." While Morris agreed with the opt-out he said that "what we don't want is a small group of parents, a very small group, to then say the real American tradition...is that we can't do anything...that expresses Christian, or Jewish, or Muslim faith... that is not the way to go, not at all."
Okaay... If a group of Christian students were being bussed, at taxpayer expense, to a Muslim themed play with readings from the Koran, do ya think that Fox & Friends & Fr. Morris would be attacking the Christian parents who would be, I guarantee, protesting?
I report, you decide. But how bout Fr. Morris drumming up business for the ADF to defend Christians. In all the Fox News discussion about "free speech," I've never heard anybody referring folks to the ACLU!!!
If God didn’t want all people to be Christian He would not allow me and my ilk to speak trough Charlie Brown so that all children will know that Choice is Not An Option!
However, I can safely say that the late Charles Schulz would be horrified at the idea that HIS characters would be being used as a propaganda tool. Schulz was a devout Christian, but he was NEVER exclusionary and would never approve of the “evangelical” Christian Taliban’s use of his show in this way. (I’m actually unaware that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been approved to be done as a live stage show like “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I wonder if the Schulz estate knows of this?)
Furthermore, the idea of “opt out” is meaningless, especially in the South. Any kid whose parents decided to “opt out” from the trip will come under a lot of “peer pressure” (or all-out bullying) for not coming along.
And the question about kids going to see “the story of Judaism” (which was so skillfully UNanswered) is incredibly absurd. Anyone with the least bit of knowledge of Judaism (which, one would hope, includes a priest whose seminary training have to have included readings from the Old Testament—beyond the Song of Solomon done “after hours” and “under the sheets” when you couldn’t find a “brother” to “lend a helping hand”) would know that there is NO “story of Judaism” to speak of. The closest tale would the Exodus which is related through the Catholic Church-approved film “The Ten Commandments” (which continues to find its way onto network TV most Easter seasons—which just happens to usually coincide with Passover week). But, as I noted, the Exodus story is accepted by even the most right-wing of the Christian Taliban. Now, there are two other major “stories of Judaism”—one is included in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and the Old Testament while the other isn’t found in either (although Catholic Bibles do include the second story in the Apocrypha). The first story is that of Esther (and explains the story of the festival of Purim) and the second is that of the Maccabees (which forms the basis of the story of Hanukkah). Of course, neither of these “stories of Judaism” are ever really given much consideration to the Christian Taliban because they don’t really have anything that applies to Christianity (Esther, while the story of persecution should seem to apply, falls by the wayside because there are so many other persecuted figures in the Old Testament—Job, Daniel, Jonah—whose tales are less about Jewish persecution and more about general persecution; and the Maccabees—well, they’re all about Jewish militants fighting to establish their own homeland, something the Christian Taliban feel they already have but they want everyone else, especially those dreaded “others,” to mind their place and stop rocking the boat of their “Christian nation”).