Despite the religious diversity of "America's Newsroom," Fox News panders, almost exclusively, to one religious group. In addition to providing extensive coverage in support of the Catholic bishops opposition to the HHS birth control mandate and its providing a Catholic priest a weekly gig to promote right wing talking points, it would appear that Fox is appealing to a constituency whose white members (for Fox, the only hue that counts) are trending GOP. The sweet faced Fox priest, Fr. Jonathan Morris is a perfect Fox propaganda vehicle as he is able to cleverly morph Catholic dogma with right wing talking points that are delivered in a seemingly benign conversational way. He also occasionally validates fundamentalist Christianity. Fox gets payback in the form of Morris' loyal Facebook fans who always tune in to see their Vatican idol. Yesterday, Morris used a discussion about the teaching of creationism to, again, endorse school vouchers which are supported by Catholic bishops and evangelicals. He also dissed public schools. Something for everybody. Pretty slick...
Yesterday's Sunday with Fr. Morris session was about an Ohio school district's controversial proposal to include "creationism" as a "hot topic" for classroom discussion. The opening visual, accompanied by dramatic, orchestral music was "The Fight For Faith." Clayton Morris, sitting beside an ostentatiously upskirted (but very Christian) Ainsley Earhardt asked if "school kids should be taught creationism in the classroom?" He reported that the proposal to add creationism has "set off a debate about the separation of church and state." Mike Jerrick introduced a smirking Fr. Morris with the comment that "this is a perfect topic for you." And this is where it got slick.
Without mentioning that the Catholic Church supports evolution and that Catholic schools don't teach creationism, Morris described creationism as a "religious belief." To Clayton Morris' question of whether the school district is "trying to teach it as science," Fr. Morris said "they're in a tough situation" because of the controversial nature of the subject. He claimed that the school put together a list of material "not allowed to be talked about." Ainsley read a list: "pro-life, abortion, contraception abstinence, "legalization of drugs, gun rights, and global warming." She held up her hands in disbelief as she commented about how these are issue that are in the "headlines."
FOX PROPAGANDA ALERT: There is no indication, in the reports on the Ohio proposal, that these topics are verboten. Rather, the school district is adding to "add these topics to a hot topic list deemed appropriate for classroom discussion."
What the curvy couch crew are doing is setting up a false premise against which they will react which is precisely what Fr. Morris did: "If you can't talk about these things in school, are you going to get educated in schools or just taught how to add..." He added that if these subject are taught they should be "age appropriate so that school districts are not taking the role of parents away." (A right wing whine when it comes to sex-ed) and that "it has to be done in a fair and balanced way" (Oh, the irony) although he didn't feel that creationism should be taught in a science class. He asserted that teaching creationism "should be done in a good way and that's hard to do in a public school." Clayton Morris interjected that it could be in a religion class. Spittle and jazz hands were flying as Morris said that if we can't talk about religion in public schools, maybe we can't.
Morris continued his rant: "The public school system, as a whole is deeply flawed because we can't talk about these things" and - wait for it - "that's why I believe that a voucher system, the fact that government would give money to parents and allow them to send their kids to wherever they want to go...I think that it just makes more sense in terms of education."
After Jerrick used a quote from the school department to show that they agreed with Morris because they want the topics taught in a "fair & balanced way," Morris expressed skepticism that a public school could achieve that. The chyron was classic Fox propaganda in that it positioned the evil ACLU against good creationist Christians: "Battle Over Beliefs, ACLU Opposing Creationist Curriculum." (Evolution a "belief" - really?) Clayton Morris finished with a shout-out to those wanting creationism: "They're going to wait until college to get their education." Nobody mentioned the court cases which ruled against the teaching of creationism including "balanced treatment."
As a piece of religious right propaganda this was priceless. A false premise was set up so that Morris and the Foxies could say that the public schools aren't encouraging debate when the bottom line is that there should be no debate regarding the validity of a late Bronze Age creation myth being an alternative to science. In other words, there is no F&*king "controversy." The premise, being the inadequacy of public schools, was then used, by Fr. Morris to pimp vouchers for parent to send their kids to school where they actually teach creationism as fact. (talk about waiting until college to get an education!) Pretty slick!
Also, think how much more interesting Rodeo Bronco busting would be if they allowed Unicorn’s or even flying horse’s like Pegasus!
Yes, by all means, bring in snakes and try to get them to talk.
I can see the Principal asking the science teachers what all the laughing is about every hour of every day.
The only difference between the two, of course, is that one is based on scientific fact, and the other is imaginary.
PS to the good Father: The Catholic Church has accepted the fundamental principles of Darwinism (evolutionism) and it even accepts the idea that Earth is not the centre of the universe but only one of many many many planets going round and round around their sun.
The idea of taking the small amount of money an individual family theoretically has allotted for it in the public school funding and telling that family to apply it to an expensive private school is untenable on its face. The reality is that the rich parents who send their kids to private school will be able to get a little refund for themselves, while middle class and working class parents will still be unable to afford the tuition. Meaning that you’ll still have the same kids in public school but their schools will have lost even more of their funding than they already have. It’s a really cruel trick.
It also belies the entire point of public school funding – we all pay for it via taxes, whether we choose to make use of it or not. Wealthy families contribute too, but as they have greater means, they tend to have their kids attend private academies. The idea is that just like police, firemen and other public resources, schools are something we all support. The right wing meme here cleverly tries to bypass this with the libertarian response of IGMFU.
Throwing in the “creationism” baloon is just silly. If parents want their kids to be taught that philosophy, this can be done at a religious school, or at Sunday School. But it’s totally inappropriate in a secular public school. What Morris is advocating would jump the line between church and state, and there’s a reason to have such a line in place.
Of course, Morris could also advocate for parents just doing the “Home Schooling” idea. That always works – keep your children out of any social arena that you don’t pre-approve and never let them experience or learn anything about the real world. Come to think of it, it was roughly 20 years ago that I noticed the HS idea taking off. And what do we have showing up as political activists today? And we’re surprised when they support people like Christine O’Donnell or Todd Akin?