As a devout Catholic watchdog who guards against evil secularism, Bill O'Reilly is concerned about affronts to the sacredness of Christmas which is, of course, a secular holiday not celebrated by all Americans and if celebrated, not necessarily done in a religious manner. And while real religious folks would say that Christmas is a time for helping one's neighbor, Bill cares more about things like the RI state tree which the RI Governor, Lincoln Chafee, has dubbed a "holiday tree," as did his Catholic GOP predecessor who got no grief from Bill about that truly mortal sin. Last night, Bill hosted the head of the Becket Fund, a group that defends religious freedom and which gives "awards" to those who defile Christmas. Not surprisingly, the top award was given to the RI Governor. Not surprisingly Bill used the opportunity to continue spreading his Christmas venom by continuing to attack Chafee. Peace on earth?
O'Reilly began by citing some past Ebenezer Awards. The examples cited were over 10 years old. He and his guest, Kristina Arriaga of the Beck Fund for Religious Liberty spoke first about the Santa Monica Nativity controversy which was aided and abetted by Fox News and O'Reilly and which won an "Ebenezer Award," this year. Bill used his favorite word, one picked up by a Jewish guy who blames the Jews for the War on Christmas, to describe atheist "pinheads." The top award went to Chafee, one of O'Reilly's favorite scapegoats.
Arriaga misrepresented Chafee's in her comment that because Chafee was "so afraid that there would be Christmas caroling in city hall" (State House actually) "that he treated the release of the display" (Lighting, actually) as a matter of national security because he announced it thirty minutes beforehand.
Fact Check - Chafee's decision was based on last year's experience when protesters, urged on by Fox News and right wing radio, took over the State House, during the tree lighting, and drowned out a children's choir that was singing holiday songs. The governor had to apologize to the children and their upset parents for the mob's behavior.
Bill said that his beef with Chafee is over the name of the tree. He claimed that Chafee said that he can't call it a Christmas Tree because "that offends people who aren't Christian." Bill suggested that Chafee is offending the 80% of Americans who are Christian. What Bill doesn't apparently know is that not all Christians focus on the religious aspects of Christmas.
Fact Check: Bill is cleverly manipulating language to suggest that Chafee said that if the tree were called a Christmas Tree, people would be offended. He has never said anything of the sort - certainly not on O'Reilly's program. In 2011 he cited RI's founding on the idea of religious tolerance and said that "If it's in my house it's a Christmas tree, but when I'm representing all of Rhode Island I have to be respectful of everyone."
Arriaga said that this mistreatment of Christmas is a big problem in society. O'Reilly wanted to know why the "secular-progressives" are "attacking displays in the public square." Rather than citing 1st Amendment concerns, Arriaga said "it bothers them because they want the state to be the only place where the get their values and their religion." (WTF???) Arriaga cited her parents' experience in Cuba. She claimed that "we are religious beings...and we should be able to carry these convictions to our workplace and outside." When she asserted that "no one should be complaining about the expression of religion," Bill interjected "as long as it's not forced on the folks" and claimed that he wasn't bothered by other displays "in the proximity." Really? He went ballistic over an atheist display in the state of Washington. Thanks to his coverage, workers in the governor's office were inundated with hostile e-mails.
He then cited his newspaper column which trashes Governor Chafee and doesn't mention how last year's caroling protesters were a right wing mob.
Good will toward men?