"Fair & Balanced" Fox News provided extensive coverage for religious opposition to the HHS birth control mandate. Last week, the Obama administration proposed a compromise and the bishops are cautiously optimistic. Not so the religious right, the anti-choice lobby, and certain conservative Catholics who feel that the religious exemptions should include employers who believe that birth control is a big, ole mortal sin. So it's not surprising that as the mouthpiece for the religious right, Fox "News" has their back with the same kind of support and validation that was provided for the Catholic Bishops. And who better to provide support for employers who hate women object to paying for birth control than Fox's resident priest, Fr. Jonathan Morris who, in the past, has used his Fox pulpit to say that the mandate is "offensive" and that he is willing to die while fighting it. On Sunday, Fox & Friends provided validation for the views of those who still oppose the mandate - views articulated by Fox's one true priest, Fr. Morris!
Ainsley Earhardt reported on changes as the Fox chyron set the message: "Contraception Compromise, Mandate Altered Amid Religious Objections." The following chyron set the requisite Fox "controversy" with "Contraception Controversy, Obama Admin Amends Birth Control Rule." Mike Jerrick, another one of many conservative Catholics in Ailes' stable said that "the devil is in the details" and noted that it won't apply to private sector firms who think birth control is for slutty sluts with religious objections. He asked what "this really means for faith based institutions." Clayton Morris reported that the new "controversial" policy came out on Friday when, he speculated, "nobody would be paying attention."
Fr. Morris, who, according to his Twitter, just returned from an Arizona golf vacation, said that the new seventy page policy is just so confusing (NBC breaks it all down quite simply) and "full of accounting gimmicks." The chyrons reinforced the message: "Leap of Faith, Private Firms Excluded From HHS proposal" and "Birth Control Battle, Religious Groups Say Rights Still Violated." Morris accused the administration of trying to placate the "Planned Parenthood Lobby." After some information on the policy was presented, Fr. Morris explained that many companies, who don't feel that "according to their conscience, they can be paying for these things," aren't exempt. In case you weren't hearing the message, the chyron noted that "Critics Speak Out Against WH 'Compromise'." He got very dramatic when he spoke about the American tradition of respecting conscience and how there isn't any "compelling" reason for having no co-pay for birth control and the morning after pill. (Women's health, meh!?)
After Mike Jerrick mentioned Hobby Lobby's objection to the birth control policy, Fr. Morris said that they face a heavy fine. He didn't mention that Hobby Lobby is manipulating their health care begin dates to avoid the fine. The chyron said it all: "Faith Under Fire, Critics Say Compromise Doesn't Go Far Enough." When he asked why only certain groups are "sufficiently religious" to get an exemption, Clayton Morris said "like it should be up to the government to know who is sufficiently religious." When he claimed that of *15 cases against the mandate, 11 have been "approved," Jerrick grabbed the little padre's hand and shook it.
Despite the contention of this celibate priest, there is a "compelling" interest in making women's access to health care more equitable by reducing the higher costs they pay because they are women. It is a cost saver for businesses who pay far more for pregnancy care and a benefit for women who, without the burden of unplanned pregnancies, will be healthier and more economically viable. And if employers can deny birth control co-payment, can they object to coverage for other things that they might object to on religious grounds? Nobody mentioned that. But isn't ecumenism wonderful! Fox's resident Catholic priest is now pimping for the religious right while Fox "News" cheers him on!
Morris is full of something and it ain't holy water. His statement about 11 out of 15 cases, involving private companies, having been "approved" is simplistic if not wrong. According to his pals at the right wing Alliance Defending Freedom, seven have injunctions granted, two have injunctions pending appeal granted, five have injunctions denied, and one has a motion to dismiss pending.
If the teachings of Christ are to be believed, there’s no way to claim that such people are at the right hand of God. If the teachings are to be interpreted as done by the good father (just kidding), I for one prefer to be elsewhere.