Easter morning is arguably a fair time for the Sunday morning political shows to host conversations about religion, but every single network offered only one perspective: there is a “war on religion.” CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX limited their religious guests to Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders, all of whom parroted conservative talking points about the role of faith in society and how liberal policies somehow infringe on “religious liberty.” Absent from the discussions were any progressive people of faith, non-Christians, or non-believers.
An overarching theme of the discussions, as explicitly stated by both Rick Warren on ABC and Cardinal Timothy Dolan on CBS, was the suggestion that “a separation of church and state does not mean a separation of faith and politics.” This elides the issue and cause of the current controversy, which is that they and the other guests are advocating for policy positions based on sectarian religious viewpoints which are not held by many members of the same faiths, members of other faiths, or individuals of no faith at all. The issue is also the impact these policies would have on women’s ability to access contraception, and on the civil rights of LGBT Americans. For example, individuals like Warren, Dolan, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, Anne Graham Lotz, and Newt Gingrich all strongly oppose offering same-sex couples the freedom to marry, but none offer consideration for the many churches that do support marriage equality.
Watch a compilation of yesterday’s one-sided discussions on State of the Union, This Week, Meet The Press, Face The Nation, and Fox News Sunday:
Religion is not under attack in the United States. In fact, it enjoys as much influence in schools, government, and the media as it ever has. To limit the discussion of its influence to the narrow self-serving objections of one handful of loudmouth conservatives is poor journalism and a disservice to the broad diversity of worldviews that truly defines the American experience.