by Chris Rodda, MRFF Senior Research Director
Selected Article Excerpts:
• Just about a year ago, one of our more news-savvy members of Congress showed off his discerning assessment of news sources by posting a very important article on his Facebook page. The article, revealing the shocking news that Planned Parenthood had opened an “$8 Billion Abortionplex,” was from one of the nation’s most highly respected and reliable news source — The Onion! The congressman was Rep. John Fleming (R-LA).
• Well, it seems that Congressman Fleming’s ability to separate fact from fiction hasn’t improved much in the past year. The stories he’s now believing might not come from The Onion, a site that anybody with half a brain would immediately recognize to be satire, but the headlines are just as far-fetched and the stories just as fictitious. Here’s what Fleming had to say last week in Congress:
Mr. Speaker, I want to be certain that the administration and Pentagon leadership do not deny our men and women in uniform one of the very freedoms they are fighting to protect. On Monday I led on a letter sent to Defense Secretary Hagel demanding details about a meeting between Pentagon officials and anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein. Weinstein has spent nine years at war — those are his words — at war with evangelical Christians who he says are committing “spiritual rape” against the U.S. military. Christians who are merely exercising their First Amendment right or primary duties in the case of chaplains. Mr. Weinstein exploits freedom of speech to name call and to label Christians as the “Christian taliban” and “al Qaeda,” but he seeks to shut down the religious freedom of expression of service members in the process. I have trouble with several anti-Christian steps the Pentagon has taken in recent years. That is why my colleagues and I seek answers from Secretary Hagel on this important question now.
• I know it’s becoming increasingly hard to tell if a headline is from a less than reliable alarmist news site or a satire site like The Onion, but you’d think a member of Congress who has already embarrassed themselves once by falling for a fictitious story would at least check to see whether or not another seemingly unbelievable story is true before repeating it — and especially before repeating it on the floor of the House of Representatives. But not Congressman Fleming!
Where did such a ridiculous story come from? Breitbart.com, aided by FOX News and a whole bunch of fundamentalist Christian websites and organizations, particularly the Family Research Council.
Mikey Weinstein attacked as “anti-Christian extremist” on the floor of the House in latest assault on Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its advocacy of church-state separation in the U.S. Armed Forces