Fox's Garrett uncritically aired Focus on the Family's Minnery saying that Obama, in '06 speech, was "diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

Fox News' Major Garrett uncritically aired an audio clip of Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery asserting that in a June 2006 speech, Sen. Barack Obama was "diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say." In fact, in that speech, Obama said: "[W]hat I am suggesting is this -- secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -- the majority of the great reformers in American history -- were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause."

On the June 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Major Garrett aired an excerpt of Sen. Barack Obama's June 28, 2006, speech, in which Obama is shown saying: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation -- at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." Garrett reported that those comments "drew a sharp criticism" from Tom Minnery, a co-host of the radio show of Focus on the Family founder and chairman James Dobson. Garrett then uncritically aired an audio clip of Minnery saying of Obama, "So, he's diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say." In fact, in that speech, Obama said: "[W]hat I am suggesting is this -- secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -- the majority of the great reformers in American history -- were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause." He added that "progressives" "might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal."

From Obama's June 28, 2006, speech at the Sojourners/Call to Renewal event:

OBAMA: In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and their ethics and their values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that.

But what I am suggesting is this -- secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -- the majority of the great reformers in American history -- were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So, to say that men and women should not inject their, quote, "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of our morality, much of it, which is grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of "thou," and not just "I," resonates in religious congregations all across the country. We might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.

And some of this is already beginning to happen. You know, pastors, friends of mine, like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, are wielding their enormous influence to confront AIDS, and Third World debt relief, and the genocide in Darfur. You've got religious thinkers and activists like our good friend Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, who are lifting up the biblical injunction to help the poor as a means of mobilizing Christians against budget cuts to social programs and growing inequality.

And by the way, we need Christians on Capitol Hill, and we need Jews on Capitol and Muslims on Capitol Hill. When you've got an estate tax that is talking about a trillion dollars being taken out of social programs to go to a handful of folks who don't need it and weren't even asking for it, we need an injection of morality into our political debate.

From the June 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

GARRETT: In his speech, Obama also said this about the state of faith in America:

OBAMA: Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation -- at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

GARRETT: That drew a sharp criticism from Dobson's radio co-host Tom Minnery, who said a 2007 survey of religious affiliations showed 76 percent of Americans called themselves Christians, while fewer than 2 percent of those surveyed called themselves Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus.

MINNERY: So, he's diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Major Garrett
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Religion, Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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