Fox News host Shannon Bream invited the hate group Family Research Council's (FRC) Peter Sprigg to confirm her baseless belief that a proposed non-discrimination ordinance would ban Christians from holding public office in San Antonio, marking her third failed attempt to smear the measure.
On the August 27 edition of America Live, Bream and Sprigg peddled unfounded right-wing attacks on the proposal - which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's existing non-discrimination ordinance - as an assault on the rights of Christians. Bream opened the segment by echoing critics who claim the ordinance could be "the first step to banning Christian conservatives from holding public office":
BREAM: New developments today with a controversial proposal in San Antonio that critics say could be the first step to banning Christian conservatives from holding public office. The city council proposing an ordinance that disqualifies anyone who has ever, quote, demonstrated a bias against a person based on race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. That appears to include people who have spoken out against things like gay marriage and in support of traditional marriage.
While Sprigg noted that the ordinance's language pertaining to prior bias or discrimination has been removed, that language nevertheless formed the basis of Bream's assertion that the ordinance "disqualifies anyone who has ever...demonstrated a bias" from city office.
Had Bream been interested in conducting anything more than a softball interview, she might have asked Sprigg about the fact that even right-wing Pastor John Hagee admits that free speech fears are overblown now that the earlier language - which was part of the existing non-discrimination code - has been struck.
More importantly, she might have noted that the ordinance doesn't place new restrictions on what city officials can do or say while in office. As San Antonio City Councilman Diego Bernal explained, the ordinance merely clarifies that the City Council may choose to remove a city official based on that official's professional bias against LGBT people - a discretionary power the City Council already has, even without the ordinance.
Given their histories, it's not surprising that Bream and Sprigg would seek to defeat a simple non-discrimination ordinance with unfounded claims that the rights of conservative Christians are under attack. Bream, for instance, has suggested that businesses should be permitted to discriminate against gay clients simply because they're gay. Meanwhile, Sprigg has endorsed the exporting of gays from the U.S. (a comment he was forced to walk back), called for the reinstatement of laws banning gay sex, and sits on the board of a group that advocates sham "ex-gay" therapy.