Todd Starnes, a Fox News personality who often promoted Religious Right “culture war” themes and attacked church-state separation on his radio show and in columns, has been let go by the right-wing network.

Starnes’s contract was up for renewal, and Fox decided not to extend it. The move came just days after Starnes, speaking on his radio show Sept. 30, asserted that Democrats don’t worship the traditional Christian God but instead worship Moloch, a pagan deity who is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus. Moloch was said to be worshipped by the Canaanites in rites that involve child sacrifice.

Starnes, who at the time was interviewing Pastor Robert Jeffress, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, asserted, “Apparently the god they worship is the pagan god of the Old Testament, Moloch, who allowed for child sacrifice.”

While the Moloch comment and Starnes’s firing were linked in several media accounts, it’s not clear that the quip had anything to do with his dismissal. An anonymous source at Fox told the website TheWrap that Starnes’s firing “was in the works” before he made that comment.

A few days after his dismissal, Starnes appeared on a radio show and complained of having been silenced.

“There are things that I just will not do and that is compromise my beliefs, ever,” Starnes told host Marc Cox. “You know, I’m proud to be a conservative. I’m proud to be a Trump supporter. And I’m also proud to be a person of faith.”

Later in the interview, Starnes added, “I would never try to silence, you know, someone from the left. I mean, that’s their opinion. But that’s the kind of country we live in these days. And, you know, I report on these kinds of incidents all the time, never realized I was going to be one of them.”

Starnes declined to talk specifically about why he was let go, remarking, “I really can’t talk about that part.”

Americans United has several run-ins with Starnes over the years and has written blog posts criticizing his biased reporting. Earlier this year, Starnes called AU President and CEO Rachel Laser a liar after she’d issued a statement celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a Washington state football coach’s case claiming he had a right to pray with students.

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