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The Fox gang was having a nice Sunday morning chat about Adam McDaniel, the leader of the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu Syndicate, a Satanic group in Oklahoma that organized a public mass to be held in Oklahoma City's Civic Center. You'll be shocked to know that Fox and its official religion contributor have all of a sudden discovered just how wrong it is to allow a religious service on public property. So. Very. Wrong.


Luckily, Fox News has its very own "religion contributor" (yes, really), and his name is Father Jonathan Morris. When he's not busy pimping his latest book or giving speeches, for a fee, the Catholic priest jumps in front of the cameras at Fox to stamp his collared imprimatur on standard conservative talking points. In the name of God.

Normally, Father Jonathan is called upon to explain things like the Obama administration's "obvious raping of our First Amendment rights" with Obamacare and the stupid liberal media's failure to report it. But on Sunday's episode of Fox & Friends, he had a whole new take on the First Amendment and how the government must never, ever, NEVER EVER NEVER interfere with the right to practice one's religion as one sees fit according to one's sincerely held religious beliefs, as long as those sincerely held religious beliefs are Catholic, obviously, because that's the only religion that matters and clearly the only one to which the First Amendment applies.

You see, unlike good and righteous practices of religion in the public square -- like, say, opening a town council meeting with a prayer in the name of Jesus, which Father Jonathan thinks is just okey-dokey and a-okay -- the Satanic mass is an absolute disgrace and is not protected by the First Amendment because it is, among other things, "supernatural," unlike Father Jonathan's religion, which is just plain factual common sense. Father Jonathan goes on to demonstrate just how little he understands about the First Amendment and free speech, which hasn't stopped him from regularly appearing on Fox to churchsplain it anyway.

Do they have a right to do it? Yes, they have a political right to do it. Does the Civic Center -- the city have a responsibility to defend the good governance of its people? Yes. And I think they have to think through this very well.

Anybody who walks into, for example, a crowded theater and yells "Fire!" Do they have a right to do it? Yes. Free speech? No. Why? Because they’re inciting violence.

Last time we checked our Bible, the "right" to walk into a crowded theater and yell "Fire!" was not actually in there. But whatever, he's on a roll. Please proceed, Father.

When you have a group that does this, not just because they want to do their own little worship, but they are provoking anger and hatred among the community. The city can step in and say, "You know what? That’s not worship. That’s not free speech. That’s mockery, and you’re inciting violence."

So the real problem is not that McDaniel and his anti-church pray to a different (eeeevil) god; it's that they're inciting violence. Man, if Father Jonathan ever hears about this guy, he is going to be supernaturally pissed.

Well, you know, first of all, let me say that, what I'm saying is not radical. What I'm saying is not controversial. What I'm saying is not something out of the ordinary in terms of the big picture of history. If the federal government or any government is to tell somebody you are required to violate your conscience on an essential element of your faith, the question is not, OK, I'm willing, well, pay a fine, but I'm not willing to go to jail. I'm willing to go to jail but I'm not willing to die. No, just the opposite. The conscience is invaluable and if the federal government is asking any group or individual to violate their conscience ... of course I'm willing to die, of course, I'm willing to go to jail. Of course I'm willing to pay a fine in order to not go against something that is essential to my faith. That is the most normal, non-radical thing that I can think of.

As you've probably sussed out, yes, that is Father Jonathan explaining why it's totally no big controversial deal at ALL that he's willing to die in the name of fighting against the Obamacare contraception coverage mandate. Not that he's suggesting anyone else should be willing to die, so maybe that doesn't count as inciting violence so much as just sort of mildly implying that the church's war against ladies using birth control is a cause worth dying for.

The other real issue, of course, is that the government cannot simply stand by and allow any yahoo who believes some crazy supernatural nonsense he read in some book to invoke the First Amendment to protect his so-called religious beliefs. As Father Jonathan explained, the government has to draw a line somewhere:

I get it but what if I want to go and desecrate a Koran in front of my church? What if I want to speak pro-Nazi stuff right in front of my church and get people all fired up on a public sidewalk? I think there is, at some point -- the government has to step in and say, "You can’t incite violence in the name of free speech."

That's an excellent point. Father Jonathan, would you like to counterpoint yourself from back when you believed the government doesn't get to dictate what constitutes valid religious beliefs?

It comes down to this. Do we believe in the individual's ability to decide what they believe in? And whether or not the government is going to step in and say, you are not allowed to believe in that. We have a long tradition and that's the very purpose of the First Amendment, a long tradition, the government saying, you know what? We are not able to judge what you decide is right or wrong, but we're going to respect it. That is the very essential part of our government.

But screw that long tradition because there are people who have religious beliefs that do not comport with Father Jonathan's, and the government must do something now to infringe on their First Amendment rights before the First Amendment is destroyed completely!

We will happily note, however, that Father Jonathan at least realizes that hate-speeching and inciting violence on a sidewalk is definitely not protected by the First Amendment. We would have thought for sure he'd be in support of that kind of "sidewalk counseling," which even the Supreme Court says is protected speech. Guess he's seen the light. It's a damned miracle.

[Rawstory/Media Matters/Tulsa World/Crooks and Liars]

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