Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bill O'Reilly Cherry Picks

This week Bill O'Reilly offered one of his typical columns: "The Gospel According To Nancy." In it he's stunned to learn Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged the Catholic clergy to campaign for immigration reform.

O'Reilly claims: "For decades, liberal Americans have been hammering conservatives about the alleged 'wall of separation' between church and state."

That's O'Reilly pretending to believe his own propaganda.

Truth is, for decades "conservatives" like O'Reilly have been hammering "liberals" as godless atheists bent on forcing church-state separation on the rest of America. It was great propaganda. Anybody paying attention knows it was propaganda. Both the left and right have always used religion to promote their agendas. Ever heard of Martin Luther King, Jr?

So today O'Reilly chooses to acknowledge the well-known fact that "liberals" mix religion and politics. He feigns surprise. I can see him chewing bubblegum while nodding his head to the Jonas Brothers. "Like, WOW, dude!"

The only surprise is that people keep listening to this pretender. The way I see it we have two choices. Either O'Reilly is an idiot, or he thinks everyone else is. He lies when he implies the left has no interest in mixing church and state. He lies when he "discovers" the lie he helped create. O'Reilly is reliably dishonest. He weaves stories that sell: political fictions -- a popular genre these days.

But O'Reilly is not finished with this fable. The real issue, it seems, is abortion. He notes that Pelosi is "a Catholic who is stridently pro-choice." He warns: "you can't cherry pick your issue, Madame Speaker, and the Gospels are quite clear about the sanctity of life. Are they not?"

Well, not quite. We cannot separate the Gospels from the rest of the Bible. That's cherry picking. And if we look at the whole, this alleged "sanctity of life" quickly becomes muddled. How much sanctity is there in godly mass murder? We can't exit Genesis without being forced to ask that question. And the answer doesn't look too promising. The Bible, if looked at honestly, is not about the sanctity of human life. At most, it's about sanctity of a certain kind of belief, a certain kind of authority, a certain set of laws. As for human life, Paul says it best: "For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh." That sentiment is the opposite of human sanctification.

At least Paul looked inside and found his innards wanting. I doubt O'Reilly takes that step. I doubt he bothers to peek inside at all.

-- Don Jindra