Bill O'Reilly is a devout traditional Catholic who, like his fellow devout traditional Catholics during the Crusades and the Inquisition, has no problem persecuting those whose beliefs do not fit into his narrow orthodoxy. Like Roman pontiffs who issued papal bulls excommunicating those who were out of line, culture warrior and pope wannabe O'Reilly issues his own denunciations via the bullshit that comes from his national pulpit. Such was the case on last night's "Talking Points," during which O'Reilly continued last year's Fox attack on RI Governor Lincoln Chafee over naming the official state tree, the "holiday tree." For traditionalist Catholic Bill O'Reilly, it just wouldn't be Christmas without some, metaphorically speaking, heretic burning. Christmas spirit at its finest. The baby Jesus must be so happy!
O'Reilly started off by titling his segment, "Christmas Chaos in RI." He smiled benevolently as he spoke of how "last year, Governor Lincoln Chafee wanted to ban the word Christmas from the Christmas tree lighting at the state house. Chafee wanted to call it the holiday tree." He claimed that "he lost, in fact he got his butt kicked as RIers reacted furiously."
Lie - He didn't lose. The tree remained the holiday tree and the only RI'ers reacting "furiously" were the talk radio hosts and fans, local teabaggers, and the Catholic bishop who were ginned up on holiday hatred spread, in part, by Fox News. O'Reilly didn't mention that a children's chorus, at last year's tree lighting, was drowned out by those who were furious, one of whom was hate radio jock John Deptro who appeared on Fox & Friends to whine about the tree. He also didn't mention that the state tree had already been called a holiday tree by Chafee's predecessor, the GOP, Catholic, pro-life Governor Don Carcieri and that didn't seem to generate any hostility, certainly not from O'Reilly! O'Reilly also didn't mention that clergy from mainline Protestant denominations didn't have a problem with the tree.
Bill dramatically intoned that the governor's spokeswoman (who is probably getting nice, Christmas, Christian death threats as we speak) announced that there would be no Christmas tree lighting at the state house. He then dramatically intoned that the spokeswoman "recanted" but she doesn't know when. He asked if that made any sense and if the woman is related to Susan Rice.
The trashing of Governor Chafee began. He said that Chafee's belief that the state's founder, Roger Williams, wouldn't want the tree to be called a Christmas tree. O'Reilly didn't mention that Williams was a proponent of religious freedom. O'Reilly pontificated that "Christmas is Christmas. It celebrates the birth of Jesus. Therefore, the word "Christmas," images of Jesus, any songs or poems or stories discussing him are appropriate under the law." He accused the governor of "using his power to diminish Christmas." He then attacked "secular progressives" who "don't like public displays of Jesus because Christians believe he's God. And Christians are the enemy." He claimed that "it really got heated a few years ago when some dopey department store chains actually ordered their employees not to say the word "Christmas" but because he "got involved and "that largely stopped." He then claimed that the stores "folded."
Lies - In 2006 O'Reilly asserted that Crate & Barrel and Best Buy ordered their employees not to say Merry Christmas. The employers said otherwise. If he is referring to the aforementioned stores, neither have folded.
Bill announced that "some of his staff" will be attending the RI state house tree lighting. (If any of you RI'ers go to the tree lighting and meet up with Jesse Watters, you could ask him if the baby Jesus approves of sexual harassment and creating a climate of hate in which an abortion doctor was assassinated by somebody whose "traditional" views match those of Bill O'Reilly.) After having smeared the governor - Cognitive Dissonance Alert - wished him peace.
The "war on Grinchitude" has begun and Bill O'Reilly has all guns firing! As Amanda Marcotte said about NY Times' conservative columnist (yeah, Bill, they have right wingers) Ross Douthat, whose views on the demise of "traditional" America mirror those of Bill, "Christ what an asshole."
Memo to O’Reilly: Simple fact, Pinhead. Roger Williams was PERSECUTED (as you claim so many of today’s Xtians are), but for reals. This is a man who was exiled by the Puritans (maybe you remember those “seekers of religious freedom” from that Turkey Day story?") because he believed that everyone should be FREE to worship God (or even the baby Jebus—or no one at all, if it came to that) as the individual saw fit. He did believe that organized religion had a place in society, but one that, um, “knew its proper place” (a phrase you might recall from the South in the 1950s). Now, in those early days of Colonial Amurka (back when the folks considered themselves to be loyal subjects of the Crown), the punishment of “exile” (aka “banishment”) was often tantamount to the death penalty. The offender would be led (or pursued) for many miles away from the community—often being forced to leave at the crack of dawn and only being “freed” at sunset. Oh, did I forget to mention, the offender was rarely allowed to pack many belongings (not that they really had that much) nor was he given much, if anything, in the way of provisions, like dried meat or even water? And then, of course, there were the Native tribes, many of whom had already learned a hard lesson about the whites and their general lack of trustworthiness, so it wasn’t like an exile could rely on the kindness of strangers.
But, somehow, Williams made it to the area we now know as Providence and vowed that he would establish a settlement where people truly would be free to worship as they saw fit. If they wanted to cook beans and boil potatoes and roast a chicken on “the Sabbath” to avoid starving, they could do so without the local “morality police” (whoops—those are in Saudi Arabia and Iran, aren’t they? Well, the Puritans had them too but likely used a different name) inspecting their homes to see that they weren’t engaging in “labor” on the “day of rest.” Or if a man had worked morning till night from Monday through Saturday and was bone-tired come Sunday, there wouldn’t be anyone coming by to round him up to go to Church.
Oh, one last thing, Pinhead—you DO know how the Puritans felt about Christmas, right? Not only did the Puritans ban the idea of any sort of celebration, but they also LOATHED the Catholics. IOW, they would’ve felt about you and your Christmas the same way you seem to feel about anyone disagrees with your idea of how the holiday season should be celebrated.
(I do apologize to any and all Clive Barker fans who may have been offended by my referring to O’Reilly as Pinhead. As we all know from the “Hellraiser” films and stories, the Cenobite Pinhead was a far more reasonable being and far less of an obsessive personality. Oh, and he wasn’t quite as much of a dick as O’Reilly. All in all, if you gave me a choice of spending eternity in Hell with Pinhead or O’Reilly, I’d gladly choose Pinhead. At least he seems to have fun doing his job; O’Reilly seems to be perpetually miserable.)