Although there are many religious denominations in America, the America of "America's Newsroom," Fox News, is very restricted to - surprise, surprise - conservative denominations who vote GOP or could be convinced to do so. Fox's orientation seems to be weighted on the side of the Catholic Church as shown in the appearance of Catholic priests (Fr. Jonathan Morris, Fr. Gerald Murray) who preach the gospel of the GOP. You won't see, on Fox, liberal pro-choice, pro-gay clergy; but pastors from non-denominational groups do, occasionally, preach to Fox's evangelical choir. Franklin Graham is always welcome on Fox. Mega-church millionaire Joel Osteen was recently on Fox & Friends lamenting millennials' lack of religiosity. And within the last few days, another evangelical, Pastor Steve Berger, popped up on two Fox shows. While he seems quite benign, the reality is that he is anti-gay - to the point of being in a ministry for "ex-gays." Coincidence?
Friday, Berger was interviewed on Fox & Friends where he pimped his new book about heaven, "Between Heaven and Earth." Berg, a pastor at Grace Chapel, in Tennessee, described heaven in great detail which is interesting because, unlike other Fox & Friends guests, he doesn't seem to have made the round trip. Ainsley Earhardt recommended that Fox viewers buy his book for their kids' Easter baskets. Later, on The Kelly File, Berger commented on the "viral video" of an Irish Catholic priest singing a lovely version (my favorite is KD Lang's) Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during a wedding. Kelly (divorced and re-married in non Catholic ceremony) spoke of how, when she goes to Mass, she is looking for something special and the singing priest provided just that to the congregation. Berger said that the priest was "under the unction of God's spirit." She played, as her Easter gift to her viewers, the complete video.
But here's the deal with Berger. He's a member of the Board of "Restored Hope Network," a group of anti-gay evangelicals which broke away from the ex-gay organization "Exodus International," (now dissolved) when the Exodus folks concluded that there was no cure for homosexuality and denounced "conversion" therapy. "Restored Hope Network," which believes that gays can become straight if they accept Jesus, has been praised by the virulently homophobic "Americans for Truth About Homosexuality." In an article accompanying one of his sermons, Berger writes about how people become "trapped" in gay lifestyles because of a variety of factors including lack of bonding with a same sex parent and sexual molestation - claims that are certainly not based in science. Berger is so out there that he believes that yoga "worships demonic gods."
He lists "strategies" supposedly used by gays to promote their evil ways. "Desensitize the public to the issue so that they become indifferent to homosexuality. Talk about gays and gayness as often and as loudly as possible. Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. Make gays look favorable, normal, and even superior Make victimizers look bad. Undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and what the latest ﬁndings of psychology are. Use talk to muddy the moral waters by publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches. Raise theological objections of our own about conservative interpretations of biblical teaching.”
Anyway....he's perfect for Fox News.
To everyone at News Hounds…Happy Easter!