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Saturday, October 25, 2003


Bill O’Reilly Reports; We Laugh Out Loud.
In recent months, Bill O’Reilly has been railing against those whom he pejoratively calls “secularists.” Secularists, according to O’Reilly, are people who are opposed to God and morality. In reality, secularists are people who are opposed to the right’s attempt to merge church and state. Under O’Reilly’s definition, I am a secularist even though I engage in regular religious practices that include yoga, metaphysical surfing, and vegetarianism. As much as these practices have benefited me (e.g., yoga classes are great places to meet women) I don’t believe that these or anyone else’s religious views or practices should be imposed by the state.

On the other hand, O’Reilly and other sectarian thinkers believe that the state should base its laws and foundation on sectarian values—their values. We alleged secularists are not only wrong, but we are opposed to the intentions of the founding fathers. In the infamous NPR interview with Terry Gross, O’Reilly said, "We are founded on a Judeo-Christian philosophy. There’s no question about that. And I have a degree in history, I have all of Jefferson's and Madison's letters and I know what I am talking about." Here’s O’Reilly in his brand new bestseller Who’s Looking Out for You?:

Let’s take a look at those Ten Commandments. Boy, the federal courts don’t want you to see those on American Government property, no way. But wait, there’s a signpost up ahead. It was written by James Madison, the guiding force behind the language of the Constitution. Said Madison: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to THE TEN COMMANDMENTS" (pp. 116-117; caps and emphasis in original).

This is a damning piece of evidence against those who believe the founders were in favor of separation of church and state. The only problem is that Madison never wrote or said it. The Madison/Ten Commandments quote was pulled out of the ass of fundy David Barton, the wing nut founder of the Wallbuilders and a favorite of the scary Christian Reconstructionist movement. Will Mr. O’Lielly—er, I mean O’Reilly—make a correction in subsequent editions of Who’s Looking Out for You? Your guess is as good as mine. I can sum up my own thoughts on the matter with an accurate quote from the great sage Nelson Muntz: “Ha Ha!”

Thanks to Peter Pajakowski for pointing this out to me.


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