Debating Lincoln Chafee, governor of the State of Rhode Island, O'Reilly recently stated: "Atheists want you to burn the holiday tree." In a manner of speaking, precisely so. A cut tree usually perishes. People in the northern climes who came up with the myths that gave birth to a pine tree (e.g. the cults of Attis and Cybele) probably burned down the tree at some point in the long winter just to warm their hands. O'Reilly would know nothing of this because he lives in a very small world, the world of O'Reilly. His TV audience would know nothing of it because statistics show atheists know more about religion than Christians. O'Reilly really cannot accept that the freedom from religion movement is making more rapid advancements, as more andd more people realize that there is no god but Man.
What O'Reilly really needs is some Christmassy spiced tea. Put in a chip of cinnamon stick, a touch of cloves, and some nice pekoe and orange type black tea, adding at the moment it begins to cool a few mikes of d-lysergic acid diethylamide.
The fact is that O'Reilly IS still dangerous, because he provides an echo chamber for those who hold similar stances. They can point to him and say, "See? Someone agrees with me about..." and name any one of a number of pet right-wing reactionary opinions. Worse, Fox puts him on the air unchallenged, without debate or discussion, which would be anathema to Fox's strategy, anyway.
I'm not suggesting that O'Reilly be censored. I'm suggesting that he be challenged, challenged publicly and repeatedly, and by something more than a debate between him and John Stewart. O'Reilly and his ilk will continue to dissemble and prevaricate so long as there is no rebuttal to their mendacity.
Of course I agree with you and wanted to troll for a reply. Good thing I did as you reminded me of a sad, ironic story I suspect you, Loren, will remember. When George W. Bush was telling the 'Mare-con people how the U.S. had done this or that with prisoners at Guantanamo who were "disassembling" to their interrogators (an early tip he would resort to torture, I might add). Excuse me! Here was an Ivy League-educated chief executive making an unconscious blunder with more than one interpretation. After all, the Guantanamo inmates certainly were not disassembling. George W. Bush did not have enough sense to be president. Foolish men can front for scoundrels.
Thanks for the link. I became a fan of Eco when I read Foucault's Pendulum. I have read his essay on Ur-fascism too but forgot how good it was and how I should have a handy link to the web page. Of course I agree with the point you make!
Bill O'Reilly is not irrelevant because he is dangerous.
I hate the fact that he is generalizing like all Atheists think the same. I am an Atheist and I have no problem with calling it a Christmas tree, in fact I think it's politically correct nonsense to call it a holiday tree. Calling it a Christmas tree does not violate the separation of church and state, like, I believe, putting "under god" in the pledge does.
Bill was also idiotic in his assertion that Christianity is not a religion. He claims it's a philosophy and wants to use that as an excuse to push it into the public sector.
I agree with you in regards to "Christmas tree" Seriously, it is not associated with any other holiday.
I have heard right-wingers do the same thing in making Christianity into something it's not. When Tommy Thompson was Governor he claimed that Good Friday was not a religious holiday because FFRF was trying to take that off the "take this holiday off" list.
Some blogger's post dec 17,2011: "Is FOX news ultimately damaging the Republican party, and ensuring Barak Obama's reelection"
Americablog July 2012 " Is FOX News now a liability to the GOP? "Fox News is now the dominant force within the GOP. When Murdoch says jump, Republican politicians are forced to ask ‘how high’. Practically the entire GOP base relies on Fox as their principal source for news"
Mediamatters 11/10/12: FOX News relationship with the GOP under fire.
Actually, I wonder if Rupert Murdoch has been feeding his FOX newspuppets LSD in their grape Koolaid for the past decade.
You can say the pledge and go silent at the "under God" part, or you can, if you wish, remain silent throughout the whole thing, as I sometimes do, using the spaces to think about my work or a book I am reading, whatever, while Christian friends are saying the Thanksgiving prayer. (I actually ate with a family whose pater took out a well-worn printed prayer that had the marks of a cathedral parish office and proceeded to read Roman mythology to me, I guess because his mother is elderly and devout. The next time he thinks he will see her will be when he dies and joins her in heaven. These are the same folks who publish obituaries in the paper claiming that someone called "the Lord" had called their loved one home, or that he was taken into the loving arms of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, &c.) Little did my host know I kept sneaking glances at their ten-year-old daughter and she was smirking, stealing peeks for herself. There is some hope for future generations.
Under God should not be in the pledge. I don't think every vestige of religious imagery should be purged from the public sector, for instance I don't really have a problem with a nativity scene at a post office or other public building, but there have to be limits and putting that we are "One nation, Under God," in our pledge is going too far.
I have a problem with nativity scenes in public buildings: I worship the Baby Mithras, born on the same day of the same month during the earliest pagan worshipers in one of many Sol Invictus religious movements, all of which suggest a natural tendency in our species to assimilate other religions, making syncretism the best of hopes. As a worshiper of Mitras I would naturally object to the nativity scene because, as in all myths, and as the late Joseph Campbell took pains to point out, almost all of the nativity exegeses have elements in common. It is the practice of your religion that is offensive to me, as a participant in Mithrasmas, the fact that your baptism is offensive because you only bathe the baby in Holy Water, whereas worship of Mithras involved bathing in the blood of a bull. It goes without saying that "under God" does not belong in the Pledge: My God is better than your God.
We all know the Pagan origins of elements of Christianity, it does not matter. If a community had a lot of worshippers of Mithras then they might just put up such a display.
It wouldn't bother me. To me they're both myths with no basis in fact, no offense. But that does not mean every shred of imagery should be purged, that goes well beyond separating church and state.
O'Reilly is dangerous—anyone with his access to a large audience listening to his absurd opinions is able to influence people who lack the skill in critical thinking to analyze what he says. To many of them he is an official of the political community whose word is to be credited with authority. Fox wouldn't put him on unless he was telling the truth, right?