As a devout Christian man (ahem) Roger Ailes clearly does not like atheists. His disdain for those who do not follow the gospel according to the religious right (and that just might include the new pope) is demonstrated in his "news" network's constant attacks on atheists who object to what they see as improper incursions of Christianity into the public square. Giving the conservative Catholic imprimatur on these atheists attacks is Fox's personal priest, Fr. Jonathan Morris who never wastes an opportunity to whine about how these nasty "disrespectful" atheists are trying to remove God from America as we know it. Yesterday, the doe eyed little padre started off 2015 by violating his late 2014 axiom that we should forgive atheists!
Yesterday's patented "Fight for Faith" segment began with Catholic Knight of Malta, Roger Ailes' personal consigliore, and Fox friend Peter Johnson's agitated comment about how a group of atheists "is demanding an apology for sharing this video meant as a holiday message." As the chyron framed the message, "University Under Fire," he showed a portion of a video, sent to publicly funded Troy University students and faculty, from the University's Chancellor.
The video clip, played by Johnson, features a man speaking about how, without religion, America's democracy will fail. Johnson noted that the narrator is Harvard Business School professor, Clay Christensen who "is sharing a message about American democracy and how God plays such an important role" - a view that isn't universally shared but according to sweet Southern Christian Anna Kooiam "is the premise our country was founded on." (Not) Johnson didn't say that the professor is also a devout Mormon.
Kooiman handed Fr. Morris the propaganda baton with her question "what's the issue." Rather than address the issue of how taxpayer money is going to a biased video, Morris opined that "you'd think" that a university would be a place for exchanging ideas and that the school's president has the "right" and "obligation" to promote this video done by his friend. He added that although not everyone agrees with Prof. Christensen, religion "helps people be good to each other." (Uh, not on Fox News!) Nobody mentioned that, at the end of the video, Christensen says "if you take away religion, you can't hire enough police."
Morris then began the attack. He sputtered in disbelief about how the atheist organization wants an apology and "I find this to be very sad." Exemplary Christian Tucker Carlson read school's response which stated that the video's purpose was "to spur introspection." Carlson asked if it would be nice if the atheists "took a stand on freedom of expression." Fr. Morris: "absolutely."
Keeping with his pattern of qualifiers to what seems to be reasonable, Fr. Morris followed his comment about how he's always disappointed when Catholics do something to make Catholics look bad with the caveat that "I also feel bad for atheists, for non-believers who have somebody like this, I don't want to even say his name, who would make them look that bad." He projected that "most atheists" want "people of faith to express that publicly" but the "goal" of the bad atheists is to "wipe the name and face of God off our public square." (Which is where, constitutionally, it doesn't belong!)
Words matter and Johnson's question about whether the "assaultive tone" is "appropriate in a discussion of God and democracy" reinforced the agitprop. He repeated the word, "is that assaultive, that hard tone necessary?" Morris acknowledged that we have free speech but some free speech is not so good. With his best jazz hands, he enthused about how the Founders "recognized not only the place but the goodness of, the healthy aspect of believers for our country and forming a strong democracy..." (So, screw U atheists!) Carlson: "Amen."
Funny, the big Fox & Friends whine about the Newsweek "bible bashing" was that the author didn't seek out contrary opinions. But such is the raw hypocrisy of Fox & Friends that they didn't present the opinion of American Atheist president David Silverman who makes the point that the apology is warranted because Christensen asserts, to a religiously diverse group, that “religion, particularly Judeo-Christian beliefs, are necessary to be moral, law-abiding citizens, and implies that those who do not attend church will be anti-democracy and anti-social members of society." But as that was the propaganda message of the piece, why would Fox & Friends seek out other opinions as it might cut the propaganda buzz!!!!
But, if religion really is the “basis for democracy,” then pray tell why FoxNoise and the far-right in this country are so worried about Muslims. Most Muslim nations are the epitome of democratic values—oh wait. No. No, they’re not. In fact, when the “Arab Spring” was taking place, the democratic protestors were championed, even among conservatives, but only before the religionists got involved. Then, suddenly, the conservative supporters got all panicky. They were concerned that, if Islamists were able to win democratically held elections, America would be targeted . . . for whatever the raison du jour was.
And the KKK, when not lynching Blacks and Jews, were busy attacking Catholics.
And even when JFK ran for President in 1960, he had to actually make a pledge vowing that he would not let his “Catholic religious beliefs” get in the way of what was best for the US (basically, the old “a Catholic President will lead to the Pope in charge” canard).
And it’s only been about 30 years that the Evangelical Protestant community finally began reaching out to Catholics, under the impression that Catholics were just as right-wing conservative as the EPs.
So, basically, Father Johnny should get on his hands and knees and give thanks that he lives in a relatively enlightened period of American politics. The same religious liberty he enjoys now would be about as theoretical as the religious liberty he and the rest of FoxNoise would grant to atheists if JFK had lost his bid for the Presidency. If he wants to see how things were for Catholics as late as the 1970s, he needs to watch “All in the Family.” Archie Bunker was pretty typical of many blue-collar Republicans of the era: Benignly racist (minorities you worked with or [shudder] lived next to) were the “good” ones of their type (rings a bit of a bell with FoxNoise, dunnit?) and if they “knew” their “place” and stayed in it, life would be fine for them. Pretty anti-Catholic—again, exceptions could be made for the ones you worked with or lived next to but they still weren’t completely trustworthy with their “abnormal” devotion to the Pope and their strange eating habits (no meat on Fridays—until Vatican II but many older Catholics still refused to accept the change) and the whole Latin thing (see reference to Vatican II). And union hypocrites—they expected the union to punish the “layabouts” but when they needed a “sick day,” it was no one’s business how they spent that sick day; when layoffs were threatened, then seniority was good (if you had enough) or bad (if you didn’t)—if you had the seniority, then you should be recognized for your many years of faithful service, but if you didn’t, then you’d whine because you were working your ass off to cover some codger who refused to just retire.