On a Friday night, where can you look to find a little anti-religious media bias? No other than MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."
In her "Ms. Information" segment, Maddow engaged in a rant about Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., opposition to language in the stimulus bill that could forbid the practice of religion in institutions of higher learning where stimulus funds are used, as a Feb. 3 story by the Culture & Media Institute pointed out.
Maddow explained how this provision had been in the bill for over 40 years, then played a portion of DeMint's speech on her Feb. 6 MSNBC show.
"Student's can't meet together in their dorms, if that dorm has been repaired with this federal money and have a prayer group or a Bible study," DeMint said in the clip Maddow played. "[S]omeone is so hostile to religion that they're willing to stand in the schoolhouse door like the infamous George Wallace to deny people of faith from entering any campus building renovated by this bill. This cannot stand."
Only problem with that excerpt Maddow used - she cut out over two minutes in the middle of DeMint's speech to take him out of context (see embed YouTube video to the right). DeMint raised the issue that the bill was susceptible to a potential lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and that's where the potential of the restriction of religious freedom could stem from and the chilling effect such language would create.
"This cannot stand," Maddow mocked. "Actually Senator, this has been standing this way for 46 years and you are making a complete fool of yourself."
According to a spokesman from DeMint's office, this provision is completely different - it denies access of public facilities to student religious groups, which is unconstitutional discrimination. Nonetheless, Maddow threw in her own bizarre analogy.
"The funding bill says, for example, in addition to the religion stuff you're upset about, it also says you can't use the money to renovate your sports stadium and that doesn't mean George Obama Wallace is standing in the schoolhouse door banning football players Christian discrimination in the stimulus bill . You need to take it all back."
There's just one problem with Maddow's analogy - the ACLU doesn't file nearly many separation of church and athlete suits as they do church and state lawsuits. Thus with that language still included in the bill - it's still a threat to organized religion practiced in certain stimulus-renovated college and university buildings.