Calling Bullshit on Billo

Every year, Bill O’Reilly and Fox News
pretends that there’s a war on Christmas. By “pretend,” I
mean that they selectively highlight certain facts while ignoring
other facts. For example, the hosts of Fox and Friends lamented the
presence of a “tree of knowledge” in front of a
Philadelphia courthouse while totally ignoring a much larger
Christmas tree in the same public square.

But what is the war on Christmas
exactly? Can anyone explain it to me? Is my soul in danger because
the greeter at Target said “Happy Holidays” instead of
“Merry Christmas”? Sure, every year there are probably a
few school districts and municipalities that exhibit hostility toward
organized religion, or confusion about how to separate church and
state without offending devout Americans, but how does that make for
a war? And if Fox didn’t drag every single example, correct or
invented, out of dark corners of the country, who would even know?
Would anyone feel that their Christmas was under siege?

The “war” exists solely in
the minds of the Religious Right in order to strengthen their
political position: they need to appear persecuted. One of America’s
greatest strengths (therefore, one of its greatest weaknesses) lies
in supporting the underdog. The Religious Right knows this and takes
advantage of it by pretending to be persecuted.

Below is a “shortened” list
of accusations made by Bill O’Reilly and Fox News and the Facts that
once again debunk their accusations of any “war” against

Bill O’Reillys claim: The Saginaw, Mich.,
Township schools oppose red and green clothes and prohibit singing
Christmas songs.

Response: Superintendent Jerry Seese says no
such policies exist and pointed out that the school’s color is

Bill O’Reillys claim: Watchung, N.J. they have
begun referring to their Christmas tree as a “Mitten Tree”
and have replaced ALL references to Christmas with “Holiday.”

Response:< Mayor Albert Ellis said the “Tree
of Lights” (not a mitten tree) is sponsored by the local rescue
squad as a fundraiser. The tree is placed in the town green and
people can buy a light in honor of or in memory of someone. The town
has been doing it for 15 years and no one has ever raised an issue.
The town also negotiated a holiday display policy with the two local
churches and developed a policy so private citizens can erect holiday
displays. There is no conflict in the community over this.

Bill O’Reillys claim: A Plano, Texas, school told
the students they could not wear red and green because they were
Christmas colors.

Response: A spokeswoman for the district said
this is not true and never has been true. She expressed frustration
that this story continues to circulate and said she does not know its
origin. The school debunks the claim on
its website
and instructed its attorney to write to Bill
O’Reilly, requesting a correction.

Continued next post