Fox News Trumpets Rick Perry's “Dog Whistle” Accusing Obama Of Waging “War On Religion”

Fox News is amplifying a Rick Perry attack ad claiming that President Obama has launched a “war on religion” -- a claim that Politico has called “one of the most audible dog whistles so far this cycle about President Obama.”

Perry Ad Accusing Obama Of Waging “War On Religion” Called A “Dog Whistle”

Politico: Perry Ad Has “One Of The Most Audible Dog Whistles So Far This Election Cycle About President Obama.” In an article headlined, “Rick Perry TV ad hits gays, President Obama 'war on religion,' ” Politico reported:

Rick Perry's latest spot in his Iowa ad buy rotation is another faith-based appeal, but one that is openly critical of gay rights and that has one of the most audible dog whistles so far this cycle about President Obama.

In the spot, entitled “Strong,” Perry says, “I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

The hit on gay rights has become a staple of Perry's faith pitch, after getting a hard push yesterday, but the comment about Obama's “war on religion” will rather easily be read as trying underscore the perception among some voters of the president as “different,” and a reminder of the false assertions that the Christian chief executive is really a Muslim. [Politico, 12/7/11]

Fox Helped Amplify Perry's “Dog Whistle”

Bill O'Reilly: Perry “Hail Mary” Was “A Smart Move.” Bill O'Relly claimed that Perry was “turning to his Christianity” with the ad, calling the ad “emotional” and “a Hail Marry pass.” O'Reilly concluded that running the ad was “a smart move.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/8/11, via Nexis]

Fox's Hemmer: “Some Would Say” Perry's Ad Is “Powerful.” During an interview with Perry on America's Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer said: "You're on the air already with a, some would say, a powerful ad that goes toward what you consider liberal attacks on religion in America." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/8/11]

Tucker Carlson: The Obama Administration Hates “Traditional Christianity.” During a panel discussion reacting to Perry's ad on Hannity, Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson said, “That ad's not right. There's not a war on -- they don't hate religion. They hate traditional Christianity.” [Fox News, Hannity, 12/7/11]

Fox's Eric Bolling: Perry Ad “Really Hits Home.” On The Five, co-host Eric Bolling said of Perry: “He's going after Obama's war on religion. It's provocative, so we're going to talk about it.” Later in the segment, Bolling praised the ad again, calling it “very effective.” He added: “This ad really hits home.” [Fox News, The Five, 12/7/11, via Nexis]

Fox's Todd Starnes Used Perry Ad To Accuse Obama White House Of Routinely “Attacking The Christian Faith.” Fox News' Todd Starnes claimed that in his ad, Perry “decided to address the big elephant in the pew as we head into 2012 -- the Obama administration's relationship with religion -- specifically Christianity.” Starnes opined:

The evidence of his White House attacking the Christian faith, however, is plentiful. [, 12/8/11]

FLASHBACK: Christian Leaders Condemn Attacks On Obama's Faith

Christian Leaders: “The Personal Faith Of Our Leaders Should Not Be Up For Public Debate.” In an August 2010 letter, more than 70 Christian leaders “called on the media, public officials, and their fellow Christians to stand with them in opposing those who continue to insinuate that the President is a Muslim, not a Christian.” The signatories to the letter wrote:

As Christian leaders -- whose primary responsibility is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with our congregations, our communities, and our world -- we are deeply troubled by the recent questioning of President Obama's faith. We understand that these are contentious times, but the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate.

President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith. Many of the signees on this letter have prayed and worshipped with this President. We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far. [Open Letter From National Church Leaders, 8/25/10, via Eleison Group]