Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has taken it in upon himself to chronicle what he sees as an “attack on Christianity” within the military under the Obama administration. So far, the main evidence he’s turned up is an email sent by an Army officer about anti-gay groups and an unauthorized slide in a training presentation listing Christianity as a possible source of religious extremism. These, however, are enough for Starnes to conclude that, as he put it to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday, “politically correct Obama administration officials” are conducting a “sort of religious cleansing of the military”
Starnes told Perkins that his concerns are shared by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who believes “there is an anti-Christian movement afoot at the Pentagon.”
Starnes: It should be shocking and surprising, but unfortunately, for me it’s not, because I’ve been covering this attack on Christianity that’s within the ranks of the military, not just the Army, since President Obama was inaugurated. And we have seen an onslaught of attacks, the sort of religious cleansing of the military at the hands of these politically correct Obama administration officials operating out of the Pentagon.
Perkins: This is a fundamental, this is our first freedom. We cannot lose it, we must defend it with our abilities through the political process. That’s how we do that. Todd, what’s the next step on this? What do you think is going to happen next?
Starnes: I think we are going to see some movement on Capitol Hill. We’ve got some lawmakers that are very upset. Congressman Steve King out of Iowa, I had a chance to talk to him, and he believes there is an anti-Christian movement afoot at the Pentagon. And I think we are going to see more people standing in the gap for our fighting men and women. These are folks putting their lives on the line so that we might have religious liberty, and their religious liberty is being denied? It’s just unconscionable.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes joined Sandy Rios on American Family Radio yesterday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued at the Supreme Court this week. The two took a grim view of the proceedings: Starnes lamented that opponents of gay rights have become “second-class” citizens and Rios warned that a Supreme Court marriage equality victory would lead to “tremendous punishment” for anti-gay activists.
“We are in for persecution like we have never seen,” she said, to which Starnes replied, “Well, it’s already started.”
Starnes: People are, people are very concerned about, about culture and about values and where things are going in this country. What concerns me, though, Sandy, is the vitriol coming from those who support gay marriage. You know, I’m the kind of person that is more than happy to sit down and talk and debate and listen to what people have to say. I may not agree with it, but at least, you know, it’s their right to have their opinion under our Constitution.
And yet, there seems to be this opinion on the other side that says, you know what, you and I don’t deserve the same rights. You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.
Rios: Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.
Starnes: Well, it’s already started.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes claimed today in a Fox Nation blog post entitled “Why Won’t Obama Call for Iran to Release American Pastor?” that the Obama administration “has not done anything to help free” Rev. Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who is being held in a notorious Iranian prison:
The wife of an American pastor held captive in an Iranian prison for nearly a year said the Obama Administration has not done anything to help free her husband – and the law firm representing the family believes it’s because the pastor is a Christian who converted from Islam.
However, this contrasts with what Fox News reported in January of this year:
Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Sunday the administration is "deeply disappointed that Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs.
"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini."
Meehan added that the State Department remains in close contact with Abedini.
The State Department also called for Abedini's release.
"Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini's trial," spokesman Darby Holladay said in a statement.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said in a January press conference that Iran should “release” the pastor and condemned “Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion.”
We remain very concerned about U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who is detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day to present his defense. And we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and the transparency of his trial. We condemn Iran’s continued violation of the universal rights of freedom of religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini’s human rights and to release him. We are in close contact with his family as well and we’re actively engaged in the case.
Nuland reiterated the call for his release just last week:
[W]e remain concerned about Mr. Abedini. We raise this at regular intervals. We also remain deeply concerned that the Iranians have not yet granted access to him by our Swiss protecting power. We continue to believe he should be released immediately.
Brian Thorn of Media Matters points out that the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow praised the White House and the State Deparmtnet for their “strong statements” to “secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed.” “Thanks to the State Department and White House for their statements today and involvement to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom,” Sekulow said.
Well, I can tell you a couple of things. One, that we remain concerned about Saeed Abedini, who is, as you mentioned, detained in Iran on a charge related to his religious beliefs. The State Department is in close contact with his family and is actively engaged on this case. As you know, Mr. Abedini's attorney had only one day to present his defense. And earlier this week, Mr. Abedini was not allowed to attend his own trial, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of that trial. We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom or religion, and we call on the Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini.
Sean Hannity last night was clearly upset that Rep. Keith Ellison exposed him for what he is — a partisan hack — and he is now launching attacks on the congressman by recycling statements Ellison made in the 1990s about the Nation of Islam, a group that the congressman later vociferously denounced. He even wondered if “we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent of one side of what the Klan is?”
Hannity has attacked Ellison over his faith in the past, arguing that Ellison’s use of Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran during his symbolic swearing-in ceremony “will embolden Islamic extremists” and is no different from a congressman using “Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible.”
While the use of inflammatory language and false claims is nothing new for Sean Hannity, we decided to use the segment as an opportunity to highlight the five Islamophobic smears regularly found on Fox News.
1. Obama is a Secret Muslim:
Fox News host Eric Bolling claimed that Obama “answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second” and Hannity himself alleged that Obama “went to a Muslim school.” Regular contributors like Charles Krauthammer and Donald Trump have also floated the claim that Obama was raised as a Muslim and back in 2007, Fox News ran with the discredited story that Obama was a student an Islamic “madrassa” in Indonesia.
2. Park 51 Will be used for Terrorism:
Dick Morris, who just recently was booted from the network following his hilariously bad election predictions, said that the Park 51 Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero is planning to “train the same kind of terrorists” that attacked the U.S. on 9/11, warning the building will be a “command center for terrorism.” Bolling alleged that Park 51 is being built to represent “the people who flew planes” into the Twin Towers and Bill O’Reilly warned the project is housing “condos for Al Qaeda.”
3. Al Jazeera Conspiracies:
Fox News contributor Lisa Daftari warned that Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Current TV will activate terrorist “sleeper cells” in Detroit and regular Fox guest Michelle Malkin called the channel “a cheerleader for terror” and “a Trojan Horse for terror TV.”
4. Sharia law a-comin’:
Regular Fox News viewers may be under the impression that President Obama, public schools and NASA seek to impose Sharia law. The network also recently hired Herman Cain as a contributor, who insisted that Muslims should be prohibited from serving in high levels of government and that localities have a right to ban mosques because Muslims seek to introduce Sharia law, warnings Hannity readily endorsed.
5. ‘All Terrorists are Muslims’:
Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends claimed that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” and Bill O’Reilly has implied that all Muslims were responsible for 9/11. Fox News regularly hosts anti-Muslim guests such as Brigitte Gabriel, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In fact, Fox News host Laura Ingraham and contributor John Bolton prematurely blamed the far-right terrorist attack in Norway on government offices and a left-wing party youth summit on Muslims.
Fox News Sunday announced today that it will host Family Research Council vice president and anti-Muslim activist Jerry Boykin on this weekend’s program.
The last time Boykin appeared on Fox News, Megyn Kelly confronted him about his extremism, asking him about his statement that the U.S. should ban mosques. Boykin, now the vice president of the Family Research Council, tried to backtrack on the statement he made on Bryan Fischer’s radio show that there should be “no mosques in America” by arguing that he only was referring to the “Ground Zero mosque,” even though his interview with Fischer had nothing to do with it.
This weekend, we hope Chris Wallace will also take the opportunity to ask Boykin about his extremist views:
If Boykin wants to be treated as a credible voice on a Sunday show, maybe he should start by explaining just a few of his radical allegations.
Fox News’s Todd Starnes is sick and tired of ‘South Park’ and Hollywood getting a free pass. The Fox News commentator participated in the Values Voter Summit panel on “Religious Hostility in America” over the weekend.
We have the seen the administration come out and say, "we condemn anyone who denigrates religious faith." And they come out in regards to this anti-Muslim film.Well, that's well and good, but my question is, when has the administration condemned the anti-Christian films that are coming out of Hollywood? Where are the federal investigations into shows like ‘South Park,’ which has denigrated all faiths?Where is the outrage when people of the Christian faith are subjected to this humiliation that is coming out of Hollywood?
PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin went on Fox News last night to discuss the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act with Sean Hannity and the American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Raskin didn’t get much time to make his case before he was hit with a wave of faux outrage from Sekulow and Hannity.
The subject of the outrage? Sen. Raskin had called some of the conservative justices’ questions “weak” – which somehow for Sekulow turned into “attacking the integrity of justices of the United States.”
The conversation starts about five minutes into this clip:
Sekulow’s attempt at outrage is rather stunning, since his organization, the ACLJ, exists in a large part to rail against the motivations – or, if you will, the “integrity” -- of judges and justices with whom he disagrees. When the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of marriage equality, he slammed it as “another example of an activist judiciary that overreached.” When the Senate was considering then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for her seat on the Supreme Court, Sekulow said, "To call her a judicial activist is an insult to judicial activists."
Sekulow has every right to criticize justices and judges with whom he disagrees. But he doesn’t exactly have the high ground for slamming those who offer mild criticism of questions conservative justices ask in oral arguments.
For more on Jamie Raskin’s analysis of the health care case, read his piece in the Huffington Post yesterday.
The American Family Association recently hired Fox News contributor and former Concerned Women for America president Sandy Rios to host her own show on American Family Radio, and here’s what we get to look forward to: attacks on Jewish Americans for supporting President Obama. Earlier today she spoke with the AFA’s Tim Wildmon and Bryan Fischer, where she suggested that secular Jews are enemies of America. Rios bemoaned that “the Jewish vote in this country is so confused, so many of the Jews in this country are atheist and their hearts are with this President.” “They’re far-left,” Wildmon said, “Most of the Jews in this country are far left, unfortunately.” Rios said that “a lot of Jewish atheists are some of the ones who have done, just like former Christians or quasi Christians, people who have some dealing with Judeo-Christian ethics, sometimes turn out to be the worst enemies of the country.”
Later on in the show, Rios said that “there are very few” religious people in Israel, “by and large Israel is an atheistic country, they don’t really believe in the God of their fathers, there’s no question about that,” and maintained that Christians must “evangelize and pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
In a column, “Jesus explains the success of Fox News,” American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer claims that Fox News president Roger Ailes’s “leadership style is exactly the style that Jesus taught.” Fischer credits Ailes’s Jesus-like behavior for Fox’s success and says “the key to success in a capitalistic system is to do things Jesus’ way.”
For Fischer, it is “Jesus’ way” to encourage someone to lie under oath, threaten the elderly publisher of a small newspaper, introduce a series of political dirty tricks, including racially charged campaign strategies and television ads, and manage a media outlet which lies and foments extremism on a routine basis.
An interesting story on Politico this morning, explaining the success of Fox News, which has double the audience of CNN and MSNBC. The brainchild of Fox is Roger Ailes, and the Politico piece quotes Shepard Smith about his leadership style:
“We have one dad in this family,” said Shepard Smith, a star anchor who was a correspondent in the Los Angeles bureau at launch. “He makes all the decisions, and you know exactly who you have to go to, and you know when to stop asking. If you get an answer from Mr. Ailes’s office, that’s the answer; it’s time to move on.”
Smith said that when he leaves Ailes’s office, “the last thing he asks me is, ‘What can I do for you?’ And the last thing he tells me is he loves me. That’s not going to work everywhere, and most people will hear that and go, ‘You are full of crap.’ That’s exactly how it is here, and I love it.”
In other words, whether Ailes realizes it or not, his leadership style is exactly the style that Jesus taught.
Remember that Jesus said, in Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” Ailes is successful not because he can throw his weight around, but because he uses his weight to serve the people who work for him. By serving them rather than spending all day ordering them around, he gives them the opportunity to succeed and in turn he receives the considerable reward of their talent and effort.
Bottom line: the key to success in a capitalistic system is to do things Jesus’ way. Who knew?
The Smoking Gun has the sordid details:
A Fox News producer who covered Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for the cable network is facing child porn charges after federal agents discovered photos and videos on his computer depicting "children under the age of ten being sexually abused by adult men and women."