Despite Fr. Jonathan Morris' entreaty that atheists should be forgiven for their evil ways, atheists are right up on the top of the Fox News shit list with Muslims, gays, immigrants, minorities, liberals and probably groups that I failed to mention. You can bet that if an atheist group does something that offends Jesus' right wing BFF's, it will get covered on Fox, the network for the church of the perpetually offended. The latest thing to get the Christian right's tighty whities in a bunch is the request, by an atheist group, to appoint an atheist chaplain for the US military. As the media mouthpiece for the Christian right, Fox started the ball rolling on Monday when Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Judge Napolitano tossed out right wing talking points which were then repeated on Outnumbered and America's Newsroom. None of the shows provided any counterpoint to the Fox message. What's that saying about consistency and little minds?
Tuesday's Outnumbered provided more of the scripted disssing of the issue. There was the astute observation by boy genius and Brian Kilmeade that if you don't believe in an afterlife, why would you would need a chaplain. Kimberly Guilfoyle was clearly agitated about this benign request. In articulating the requisite Fox persecuted Christian meme and basic paranoia about anybody that doesn't follow Fox's Christian orthodoxy she asked if this was a "game" to attack religion. She continued: “They don’t need a humanist or whatever the heck that is, You want a hug? I’ll give you a hug. You want to go talk to a counselor, you can go talk to a counselor. What is the point of this? This doesn’t make any sense to me.” She worked in the requisite Fox hatred of political correctness: "why do we pay our military and our troops more because we are diverting funds unnecessarily because we are so super PC. I can’t stand it. And you have to put money over on this side instead of where it belongs."
There was a clever quip by Harris Faulkner about how this means that there will be chaplains for vegetarians. She also said that atheists don't need chaplains but religious people, who put their lives on the line, do. She mentioned, as did Napolitano, that there are military counselors available for the atheists. Kilmeade "joked" that atheists can just go on Facebook if they need help.
Martha MacCallum, on Tuesday's America's Newsroom, showed that atheists are clearly not part of the Fox's America. She was wide eyed with incredulity as reported that an advocacy group "is asking the DOD to appoint [her voice went up and she turned her head while squinting and elongating the following words] an atheist chaplain." Her statement, "is that an oxymoron," was clearly sourced from GOP Rep. John Fleming who has sponsored an amendment, to a defense bill, that would limit the chaplaincy to only members of an official faith. He opposes the current request for an atheist chaplain. In speaking about his legislation, he described the request for an atheist chaplain as an "oxymoron." Coincidence?
Her guest, retired military chaplain and current evangelical pastor Chuck Nash agreed that it was an oxymoron. After a bizarre comparison of religious chaplains to knives, he noted that these chaplains would be happy to talk to atheists. (Conversion?) MacCallum asked the same question, asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, about whether the appointment of an atheist chaplain would mean the elimination of a religious chaplain. Nash again invoked the knife analogy in his affirmative response. After MacCallum read a statement from atheist group in which they said that religious chaplains should support non-theists, she and Nash happily agreed that it's happening now. Nash claimed that if an atheist chaplain is appointed, the needs of a "small minority" will take precedence over the needs of the majority. When he said it doesn't make sense, she said "no, it doesn't seem to."
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State says it best: "The role of a military chaplain is to provide guidance. That guidance doesn’t need to take the form of spiritual advice... That’s not about anti-Christian prejudice. It’s about making sure that all belief systems receive the equal treatment the Constitution demands." Equal treatment for all belief systems? Not on fair & balanced Fox News!
4/10/18 update: Video is no longer available.