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Bill O'Reilly and his "War on Christmas"

By Dr. Gerry Lower, Eugene, Oregon  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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On the second day of December, Fox News Network reported the results of their "opinion dynamics poll" regarding Bill O'Reilly's statement that "There is a war on Christmas in the U.S. today." Of those responding to the poll, 42% said they agreed with Bill's statement. The majority, 48% of those polled, were in disagreement with O'Reilly's statement, and the other 10% essentially said, as always, that they did not know anything (1). In this instance, those who know nothing are in a desireable position because of the high probability that neither active side in the debate knows what they are talking about.


It is O'Reilly's notion that his "War on Christmas" is being hotly pursued by liberals and atheists and those who would have the audacity to agree with the radical notion of seperating church and state. Bill just came unhinged, you see, by the media's use of the term "Holiday trees" in place of the term "Christmas trees" - which Bill dutifully interpreted as an effort by evil people to remove Christ from Christmas. In Bill's Old Testament world, it is an absolute requirement that its adherents live in the Here and Now, no history allowed, no evolution allowed, no cultural context allowed. It makes for ignorance defined.


Meanwhile, Fox News is making effort to sell "Holiday" decorations with Bill's name on them (2), a pair of balls to hang on what better be your "Christmas" tree. It makes a little money for Fox News Network and Bill gets his name haning from some dupe's tree. Bill has taken an overt path to ignorance bordering on the psychotic, while Fox News has taken an overt path to religious hypocrisy bordering on the psychotic (3). Bill has accomplished the impossible, i.e., to be right and wrong at the same time.


Bill is, of course, entirely right in claiming that there is a "War on Christmas." At the same time, Bill is extraordinarily wrong to assign his wrathful blame to liberals and the detractors of religion and capitalism. Surely Bill must know that wars are far more prone to stem from right wing, conservative interests. Surely Bill must know that the war on Christmas began long ago, shortly after WWII, when capitalism took over both political parties, leaving America with only liberal and conservative capitalists at the helm.

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In the interest of clarity, then, it is worthwhile to consider the real war on Christmas and its causes, of which Bill O'Reilly is entirely ignorant and oblivous, due largely to the enormous degree to which he has allowed his thought to be compromised by greed-driven capitalism and everything that is wrong with America.


Wouldn't it be a boon to America if Bill O'Reilly, as an American champion, knew something about American history? Wouldn't it be helpful for him to know something about the minds of men like Jefferson and Franklin and Priestly and Paine? Wouldn't it be helpful if Mr. O'Reilly knew why our Fathers separated church and state?


Wouldn't it be helpful if Bill knew that the very concept of human rights emerged on this planet in the work of Jesus, that Jefferson and Franklin did their level best to build nascent Christian values directly into the Declaration, without recourse to supernaturalism and Old Testament religious rot. Wouldn't it be helpful if Bill knew that his grasp of nascent Christian values and how to implement them in the real world is an exercise in utter religious hypocrisy?

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When someone bedevils O'Reilly does he look to the Old Testament to find vengeance or to the New Testament to find foregiveness? Is he even able to make a distinction between these diametrically-opposed moralities that a Roman emperor crammed into the same "divine" book?


Certainly Bill can remember when Christmas was a coming together of families and friends, when people took the time to make each other presents with their own talents and skills, when a gift was a warm hug and a hot toddy (or a cold beer), when people felt good about being in each other's company.


Certainly Bill can remember when there was a serenity and peacefulness about Christmas that did not require a trip to Walmart ™ or Saks Fifth Avenue ™. He must know that Christ's peace has been utterly shattered by capitalism's greed-driven machinations, its inherent cheapening of everything it touches by assigning a dollar value to everything it touches.


Certainly, Bill can remember when people lived in horizontal communities where they needed each other in order to make their communities work - as opposed to working in a vertical corporate world (with Dick Cheney at the top) and not knowing the names of neighbors two houses down the street, and not caring to know. Bill must remember when our worlds extended a little bit further beyond ourselves.


Certainly Bill must know that in order to preserve himself as a spokesman for religious capitalism, he must blatantly ignore facts that are self-evident to everyone, e.g., that Christmas has become so over-commercialized as to be next to meaningless for millions of people who must deal every day with a world that is a good deal more real than is Bill O'Reilly's mythical World of Bush.


It is, for Christ's sake, some 230 years since the Declaration was penned to define what we in America are all about, i.e., democracy. That can be taken literally because what Jefferson did in the Declaration was to enshrine the concept of human rights that was birthed in the work of Jesus, the Christ. Why is this so damned difficult to grasp?

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Our fathers fully recognized that the values for which the Christ gave his life had nothing whatsoever to do with the values of Romanism that killed him, that the values of nascent Christianity were not something one held aloft and talked about, they were something that were properly the core values of society - to be acted upon in good faith, not used to justify greed and lust for power as the Romans had done.


Nascent Christian human rights were to be guaranteed to all people, end of discussion, and the American people were supposed to pick up the "ball of liberty" and run with it such that it might "roll round the world." We have allowed old British capitalism's greed and faux religiosity to compromise those goals from day one, and Jefferson and Franklin knew it.


Bill O'Reilly, like George W. Bush and the members of Dick Cheney's neoconservative cabal, is one of those people who speaks and takes action based on his perverted world views and one never knows whether to laugh or to cry, to laugh because of the utter mindlessness of it all (and what it says about the Bush administration in America) and to cry because of the utter mindlessness of it all (and what it says about the state of democracy in America).

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