‘Christian cleansing’ claims defy facts
by Kevin Foley
Columnist
May 09, 2013 11:39 PM | 1273 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Viewers of Fox News programs are routinely subjected to right wing opinion masquerading as objective news. But because it’s slickly delivered by seemingly trustworthy people, viewers can be forgiven for confusing fact and fiction.

If, for example, you watched Sean Hannity’s show on May 2, you were told the Obama administration is conducting a “Christian cleansing” campaign in the military.

This is a devious use of the word “cleansing,” borrowed from the phrase “ethnic cleansing,” invoking the mass murders one might associate with the Balkans war 20 years ago.

Hannity contends a Pentagon statement reiterating the military’s policy against proselytizing was proof of Obama’s “war on religious liberty.”

Hannity sidekick Todd Starnes agreed, stating Christians are “under significant attack” by the Obama administration, “(W)e have seen a Christian cleansing of the United States military.”

This lie has roots in other falsehoods promoted by Fox News suggesting President Obama is a Muslim who was probably not born in America. Hannity and Starnes are deliberately distorting facts to reinforce this bogus narrative, which Fox hosts and guests have pushed since the day Obama was elected president.

Thus, Hannity is telling viewers that Muslim/non-American Obama is conspiring with terrorists to destroy the Christian faith of servicemen and women.

Fox News cynically assumes viewers are lazy or stupid, not curious or smart enough to question such preposterous and inflammatory commentary; that they’ll simply accept as gospel whatever Hannity and other Fox comedians say.

Yes, the American military bans proselytizing. Hannity was reacting to a statement from the Pentagon clarifying that policy.

“Members of the military are free to share their faith as long as they don’t harass others,” said the statement. “Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytizing).”

Why would the military want to forbid proselytizing? Because “unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others” is disruptive to good military order and discipline.

If you’ve ever been aggressively approached by someone trying to convert you, whether Christian, Mormon, Jehovah Witness or Hare Krishna, you know how uncomfortable and annoying such experiences can be.

Here’s what the military wants to prevent: Three noncoms corner a private, get in his face, and demand to know if he has accepted their particular religious brand and if not, why not.

That’s aggressive, intrusive and disruptive to good military order. It also infringes on the soldier’s freedom to practice other religions or no religion at all.

But if a soldier invites another to join her Bible study group, that’s an offer to share her Christian faith and perfectly acceptable under military regulations. So where is the “Christian cleansing”? Where is the “attack” on Christianity?

The Supreme Court has ruled, “The government may only accommodate or facilitate, not favor or promote, religious exercise.”

If Hannity was a serious commentator instead of a Republican shill, he would discuss real problems, not phony ones.

Sexual assault in the military is a real problem, as we learned this week. According to the Department of Defense, an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2012, up 35 percent since 2010.

Right on cue, last weekend the officer in charge of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual battery.

“This department may be nearing a stage where the frequency of this crime and the perception that there is tolerance of it could very well undermine our ability to effectively carry out the mission and to recruit and retain the good people we need,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after learning of the allegations against Krusinski.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments
(9)
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George Middleton
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May 15, 2013
You know, Kevin, I would almost bet that a week ago you would have said the same if someone had suggested that the IRS was targeting conservative groups, or that the DOJ was illegally collecting private information on the Associated Press.

In fact, I am interested in seeing how you spin all this and Benghazi, plus the abortion clinic scandal to lay all the blame on Bush, Limbaugh, Hannity, Romney, Paul, Sarah Palin, ect.
CobbCoGuy
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May 14, 2013
Obama is having a horrible, terrible, rotten, no good, very bad week. I wonder; how much of this can be attributed to Valerie Jarrett.
CobbCoGuy
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May 11, 2013
Complete the sentence.

When you've lost the BBC...

When you've lost the New Yorker...
CobbCoGuy
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May 11, 2013
I'm anxious to see what you write about next week.

Let us know if you'd like some ideas.
George Middleton
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May 13, 2013
CobbCoGuy, Don't you know that Kevin selects, each week, the topic about which he knows the least, as the subject of his weekly assault on intelligent thinking, via his cut and past journalism.
CobbCoGuy
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May 14, 2013
George,

I continue to hope that at some point, KF will submit an article relating to one of the many mainstream topics of the day. I mean, there is so much to talk about.
Laura Armstrong
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May 11, 2013
Last week, families of U.S. military special operations heroes, specifically SEAL TEAM SIX families whose loved ones were mysteriously shot down just after Obama egregiously outed their unit as the guys who got Bin Laden, held a press conference at the National Press Club. It got little attention anywhere, even on FOX. The gist of their complaints/concerns/outrage was that a politically correct military command in Afghanistan WOULD NOT ALLOW a Christian service for their loved ones upon recovery of the bodies, but instead allowed a local muslim imam to desecrate their memories by offering up a prayer that they had translated and in which this muslim imam called them infidels and hollered that they deserved to die, etc. ad nauseum. This on an American military base where men and women die every day because of radical Islam. This is just ONE example of the military's move towards actually embracing the religion of our enemy while preventing Christian soldiers, sailors and Marines from practicing their faith on the battlefield and elsewhere on U.S. govt. property. News organizations notwithstanding, facts are facts and Foley has touched on about a half a percent of the facts in this column. A little research would turn up multiple examples of Obama's attempts to change the culture in our armed forces to match his own, whatever that might be.
CobbCoGuy
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May 10, 2013
We may be approaching a tipping point with the Benghazi lies and cover-up. It appears the main stream media may...MAY...be getting it. Afterall, they don't like being deceived, by anyone.

Check out the recent piece "Turning on Obama" by Ross Kaminsky. And this was written before ABC's Jonathan Karl piece about the scrubbing of the Benghazi talking points. Did you pick up on that? Not Fox, ABC.

Not only that, we see the White House held a "deep background" briefing with reporters on Friday afternoon. What the.....?

And now...NOW...the IRS issues a public apology for targeting conservative groups?

Oh, OH, wait; I'm not through. Apparently, according to WaPo, HHS Secretary Sebilius has asked healthcare industry execs for financial assistance in the implementation of Obamacare. Asking for help from the folks that you regulate. Anyone see any potential problems here?

Is there any end to the malfeasance? Is there any end to the putrefaction?
CobbCoGuy
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May 10, 2013
...and MSNBC lickspittle Lawrence O'Donnell, on air, asked for "native-american" Elizabeth Warren's autograph on a copy of her first bill.

In other related news, per a recent Pew Research Center study, reporting/opinion programming percentages are:

CNN: 54/46

Fox: 45/55

MSNBC: 15/85

See the MSNBC disparity? In and of itself, that's fine. No problem. If the consumers want it, provide it. No, what's worrisome is left-leaning, low info voters, who don't understand the difference between reporting and opinion, using MSNBC (and Jon Stewart and The View) as their news source(s).

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