Maybe I’m a little paranoid, because I’m reading "The Family" by Jeff Sharlet, which exposes the powerful political influence exerted by a group of fundamentalist Christians known as “The Family” but I find myself deeply disturbed by Fox New Anchor Brit Hume’s recent exhortation to Tiger Woods to convert to Christianity to ‘seek redemption’. Hume’s open and unapologetic proselytizing on a recent edition of Chris Wallace’s political news program provoked fellow Fox News star Don Imus to do a little fact checking on the tenants of Buddhism http://thinkprogress.org/2010/01/04/imus-hume-christian-faith/.
Has Fox News gone so far off the rails that they actually think promoting the benefits of Christianity over other religions is A-OK? Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan defended Hume’s enthusiastic endorsement of Christianity and the obvious criticism of Buddhism by saying ‘there aren’t many Buddhist viewers of Fox.” Apparently playing to the prejudices of your viewers even at the expense of offering respect to other’s religious beliefs is acceptable news policy now. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart once again brilliantly summarized the blatant hypocrisy of Fox News in a recent segment http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/06/jon-stewart-slams-brit-hu_n_413203.html
After watching that Brit Hume clip a couple of times I began to wonder if perhaps Mr. Hume is a member of “The Family.” Perhaps his open embrace of Christianity in a political news format is deliberate as part of his pledge to persuade more heathens to convert to Christianity.
After reading "The Family" I began to really question if the United States still supports the separation of church and state. The steady progress made by evangelical Christians to inform public policy, influence federal legislators and bureaucrats is concerning to those of us who still believe in our constitution and respect the right of all Americans to practice or not practice the religion of their choosing. At the very least I believe that groups like The Family who masquerade as religious organizations but act like powerful partisan policy makers should be stripped of their tax exempt status. Much to my surprise the C Street Residence, owned and operated by The Family in Washington D.C. recently lost their tax exempt status as a house of worship. I would include the Council of Catholic Bishops in this mandate since they recently forcefully inputted their anti-abortion stipulations in the US Senate’s health care reform bill. The idea of one religious organization mandating public health policy for ALL Americans is repugnant to me.
If religious groups choose to lobby in an effort to influence federal and state legislation, they should be forced to register as a lobbyist and abide by the rules governing that profession. The FCC should start to act like they are the governing body over public airwaves and discipline newscasters who denigrate religious groups and incite violence. My suggestion is start the investigation by watching Fox News.