As the mouthpiece for persecuted right wing Christians, it isn't surprising that Fox News would pick up on the latest "outrage" in the Christian right. Picking up on a story that Fox's resident perpetually outraged Christian Todd Starnes broke two weeks ago, and which is all the rage in the right wing Christian whineosphere, Shannon Bream, hosting today's America Live, reported on - wait for it - "growing outrage" - about how the Department of Justice is pulling funds from a Louisiana chapter of the "Young Marines" because of "voluntary, student led prayer." It was classic Fox agitprop. The plight of persecuted young, patriotic was Christians was used to slam the Dept of Justice (not a favorite of Fox News and its right wing audience) and the Obama administration was accused of trying to eradicate religion. Oh, and the funds weren't, as reported by Bream, "pulled" by the DOJ. But who cares about facts when you've got propaganda to push!
Liberty grad Bream, in an effort to be "fair & balanced" (just kidding) interviewed a former, deputy attorney general who served under George W Bush. Tom Dupree immediately started pushing favorite Fox/right wing memes. He said this was a "crazy decision and it really makes you question the Obama administration's priorities." He accused the Obama administration of trying to "extirpate any mention of God in the public square." The chyron read "DOJ Pulls Funding From Youth Group Because of Prayer and Mentions of Faith."
Bream reported that the DOJ is concerned because the boys are encouraged to be involved in a church. Dupree brayed about how public officials use phrases like "in God we trust" and "so help me God," "all the time." Bream asked him, as somebody who is familiar with the DOJ, about "the optics" of the DOJ when, even if they are legally correct, the program helps kids "who potentially could get into trouble." She worked in some sweet anti-DOJ propaganda with her comment that the DOJ "has been battered lately with its tracking of reporters and doing all kinds of things..."
Dupree responded that "it is a very strange battle for them to engage in" and suggested that it's because somebody wants to "get rid of any program with the slightest involvement of religion." He expressed dismay that nobody asked to pull back and say "this is a good program." Bream noted that the local Sheriff said that he would have to sign a statement saying that there would be no more prayer or talk about God. To her question of "is that what the Constitution says," Dupree responded "absolutely not" and this "is the worst stereotype of government bureaucracy and hard headed bureaucrats demanding a towing of the party line which in this case is wrong, unlawful, and unconstitutional." He hoped people would "look at the facts."
Too bad the "fair & balanced" Fox "News" isn't interested in the facts because the fact is that the DOJ didn't pull the funds. The fact is that Bream lied. The Department of Justice was concerned about references to God contained in the boys' daily pledge ("Young Marine Oath") - not because the program encourages boys to be involved in a church." In claiming that the Sheriff was being forced to sign a statement saying that there should be no more prayer or talk of God, Bream lied again. The DOJ notified the Louisiana parish that they couldn't respond to the 2013 grant request until the local Sheriff provided a letter stating that "any prayer, even if voluntary, needs to be separate in time or location" and past grants "contained impermissible use of DOJ funding on prayer." They also asked that the reference "for the love of God" be removed from the grant application. In other words, prayer should not be part of the meetings that are paying paid out of taxpayer funds.
Dupree, as a former member of the DOJ should know that "the Federal Regulations are clear in that any group that gets money from the DOJ must have all religious activities be both voluntary and separate." But Bream's biggest lie was that the DOJ pulled the funds. According to records, they didn't. Bossier Parish withdrew its application rather than comply with the DOJ request.
And BTW, do ya think there would be outrage if the DOJ asked a taxpayer supported Muslim group to stop with the Allah references in their official format? Just saying...