Updated: O’Reilly Won The Battle But Lost The Debate



The excerpt is from my new WorldNetDaily.com column, “O’Reilly Won The Battle, But Lost The Debate”:

“O’Reilly’s defense of the Christmas display was inadequate ..He fiddles with the icing rather than the cake…

O’Reilly defends the country’s founding faith on … the frivolous grounds that it is a State-designated holiday; a harmless and happy day. This is O’Reilly’s problem. He’s forever arguing his case from the stance of the positive law.

Christmas ought to be defended on the basis that Christianity is America’s founding faith.

To defend Christian America with reference to Un-Christian State law that has all but banished Christianity from the public square is worse than silly.”

The complete column is “O’Reilly Won The Battle – But Lost The Debate.”

Update (Dec. 20): HITLER AND DEMOCRACY. Ken Kelley asserts:
History records Hitler’s accent to power without a vote by the people.

Perhaps history taught in the public schools. Writes Ian Kershaw, professor of modern history at Sheffield University, author of Hitler, the Germans and the Final Solution:

“Hitler came to power in a democracy with a highly liberal Constitution, and in part by using democratic freedoms to undermine and then destroy democracy itself. …The Nazis’ spectacular surge in popular support (2.6 percent of the vote in the 1928 legislative elections, 18.3 percent in 1930, 37.4 percent in July 1932) reflected the anger, frustration and resentment — but also hope — that Hitler was able to tap among millions of Germans.”

Hitler was democratically elected as Chancellor of Germany in 1933, writes “Atlas of the Twentieth Century.”

“However, because the office of Chancellor was not filled by popular election, it might be more accurate to say that Hitler was constitutionally chosen to be the Chancellor of Germany, a democratic nation. The point is, there was nothing about Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor (30 Jan. 1933) which violated the Constitution of Germany. President Hindenburg legally selected the leader of the largest party in Parliament to head up a coalition government. It has happened hundreds of times throughout history without being considered undemocratic.”

This is exactly how democracy, “The God That Failed,” works. A leader is elected with a slim majority. He puts together a coalition which guarantees he’ll have a majority in parliament, and together they proceed to put one over the people.

Democracy is despotism by any other name.

14 thoughts on “Updated: O’Reilly Won The Battle But Lost The Debate

  1. Frank Zavisca


    Both O’Reilly and Meghan Kelly lost the debate.

    O’Reilly with his superficial knowledge of the law and almost everything else.

    Kelly because she is often so sure of herself that she misses the details.

    O’Reilly was so sure of himself that he missed some basics, as you noted. But there is more.

    His point (possibly missed by your comments) was, to me, that this wasn’t as much about “the letter of the law”, as Kelly argued, but about a JUDGEMENT CALL by the Governor. She had discretion where the display would be placed; she chose to trash Christmas.

    And, yes, as you say, the Governor can honor Christmas as a Christian holiday on a strictly secular basis – as celebrating our heritage alone, without any prayers.

    No one who is secure in their own beliefs (with our without God) is disturbed by others’ religious symbols.
    Only those who have doubts will be so concerned about the religious beliefs of others; the Governor has doubts.

  2. Anonymous

    Once again you hit the nail on the head Ilana! Great insight, especially from a non-Christian.

  3. Jon Rowe

    I disagree that Christmas should be defended because Christianity is America’s Founding Faith. I actually think O’Reilly’s case that the message of Christianity is “be just and good” — something to which secular folks and folks of ALL religions can agree about — is FAR closer to the natural law creed that defines America’s Founding.

    Americans were divided on the basis of religion during the Founding era (yes, they were; you cannot form a lowest common denominator of “Christianity generally” because “Christians” like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson took blasphemous positions that the orthodox felt had *no proper place* in the understanding of “Christianity”).

    And because they were so divided, they found they could come together on the basis of a natural religion based on “the laws of nature and nature’s God.” Now, this natural religion is, in many ways, entirely compatible with Christianity. But, nonetheless it IS not Christianity and Christianity’s essential and exclusive truths are not discoverable from reason or the natural law.

  4. Ray Oearson

    First, and most importantly, I am a Christian. I attend services regularly and read my Bible often.

    I am saying that Christmas is NOT a religious holiday because there is no foundation for it in the Bible. The so-called day of celebration of Jesus’ birthday is not biblical. It was proclaimed by some emperor (Constantine, I believe), so it is a man-conceived idea, not God’s. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Jesus was born on Dec.25 nor does it command, or even suggest, that Jesus’ birth be observed.
    This was introduced to give the non-Christian people a day to celebrate to counteract the Jew’s day of Hanukkah.

    Ray Pearson

  5. robert

    Well,”there you go again” practicing Christian honesty and displaying long held Christian virtues such as courage better than most Christians. Of course I am partial to my favorite jewish journalist and understand that her Father taught her well. Of course courage does not abide in an exclusive christian environment as Ilana seems to prove day in and day out. But I do wish you could perform O’Reilly’s job for a while. You would be a good example to Christians on what it means to unite justice and mercy. Thanks Ilana.

  6. Ken Kelley

    What election Hitler won? History records his accent to power without a vote by the people.
    Ken Kelley

  7. Jennifer

    Ilana, this is a wonderful article! I’m saving it to my computer. Once again, wisdom and smarts triumph. Thank you so much!

  8. Ray

    Memo to Erudites:

    Wonderful piece (as usual!) Thank-you.

    No need to apologize btw… I think we’re all getting pretty tired. Well-known (to some anyway) or not, Hitler is an excellent illustration of your point!

    Mr. Pearson, your view of Christmas is, alas, far too simplistic and doesn’t take into account far more than it does. To begin with, there was no prophetic/revelatory/Torah, i.e. “biblical” basis for Purim either, but the Jewish population throughout Persia, Mordecai and Esther, were so profoundly moved and grateful for God’s great gracious and providential deliverance that “they decreed”–decided–to never forget what God did for them on that day. To this day, Purim continues to be celebrated!

    A much healthier perspective that runs in this direction (and common sense), may be found at http://www.jimmcguiggan.com

    Look for the article Christmas and Paganism. For such a short piece, it has a lot to teach “us” Christians who are forever shooting ourselves in the foot with reductionism. We would do well to follow in the attitudinal footsteps of the Jewish Faithful in the Book of Esther, chapter 9. Ultimately, the idea of Christmas is a page from that book, or so it seems to me.

  9. O'Neill

    Au Contrare – Christianity is not America’s founding faith. The Native’s were animinst’s. There were Jews who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Christianity is not a faith in the sense of a single set of belief’s. Witness all of the different versions. Jamestown VA, 13 years before the Mayflower’s arrrival was a commercial venture. Tom Paine, one of the movers behind independence was an atheist. America is still not a Christian nation. American’s are independent. That means each person’s belief’s are to be protected and also means no group can demand government support, at least if the old Consitution is enforced. America protects the minority and the smallest minority is the individual. O’Reilly disrespects Atheists which blinded him to the reality of viewpoint protection and caused him to lose the battle and will also cause him to lose the war in the public square.

  10. Catherine

    Ms. Mercer – bravo – a succinct analysis of Mr. O’Reilly’s style in general. I’ve contacted him on one or two occasions, imploring that he cease discussing Catholic theology – talk about a twisted application of positivism! His knowledge of Catholicism is sophomoric and embarrassing, yet he insists on his personal interpretation of doctrine and dogma as truth. Moral relativism is a dangerous slippery slope, fueled by a philosophy such as positivism, as exhibited by Mr. O’Reilly’s commentary on many matters!

  11. Blode032222

    Those of us from a country with an executive president always wrestle a little with the concept of who “won” an election in a country without one. Wikipedia tells part of the fascinating story of the Nazi Party’s rise to power. It took several steps. Just click through the elections of 1928, 1930, etc. to watch the vote for the NSDAP rise and the votes for the liberal parties collapse.

    It’s a semantic argument whether the NSDAP ever won any fair elections, because victory is only clear when there is (a) one person to be elected and (b) that person is the most important in the country.

    The man who appointed Hitler Chancellor (Hindenburg) won fair and square, but by tradition the President was supposed to (like the King in Britain) appoint someone chief executive who could win votes in parliament, assemble a cabinet out of a successful bundle of parties, etc.

    The Nazi party’s share in Reichstag elections increased steadily, with a single downward blip, from its 2.6% performance in 1928 to an unprecedented 43.9% in 1933. They never got a majority, which is why some say they never “won”, but majorities in multiparty systems are exceedingly rare. In both 1932 elections and in 1933 they got pluralities; in 1933 they and the DNVP (a party closely aligned with Hitler at that point) got a majority (51.9% of the vote) between them.

    I’d say, Hitler came to power by way of election results.

  12. Blode032222

    … And of course, I should add (without trying to filibuster) that the atmosphere in Germany in the late 20s / early 30s was thick with intimidation by National Socialist thugs. These helped Hitler come to power by threatening anyone who stood up to him. This is why it is hard to say Hitler’s rise to power was completely legal; if someone failed to give a speech at an anti-Nazi rally because they were afraid of getting (illegally) beaten up, and other parties won a propaganda “victory by default”, that is not completely legal.

    On the other hand, several parties (neither liberal nor Nazi) held their owns at the polls right up to 1933. They include the clerical Center party (which held steady), the Social Democrats (who declined somewhat but not precipitously), and the Communists (ditto). Whether these parties fared better than the liberals because they were less intimidated, or because their voters were inherently different from liberals, is a matter of interpretation.

    [Intimidation is one thing; forcing one to vote quite another. Most of the German people were not intimidated. People went to the polls for Adolph.–IM]

  13. Jeffery J. Tokarsky

    The atheist rant is against the law. The law is: if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. The nativity scene, menorah and Christmas tree are positive religious traditions. The atheist placard was not a celebration of atheism, but a mean spirited attack of believers. At first, I was offended, but now see it as serving a higher purpose. Both the unhardened atheist heart and unenslaved atheist mind on display appear to be angry and mean and uninviting. If this is be the opening salvo of their membership drive, religion is surely safe. Take care, Jeff

    [Your law outlaws freedom of speech.–IM]

  14. CT Woman

    Christianity is in no way America’s founding faith. According to Isaac Kramnick, a professor of government at Cornell University, America was founded as a secular state–completely neutral towards all forms of religious expression.

    “In 1787,” Kramnick writes, “when the framers excluded all mention of God from the Constitution, they were widely denounced as immoral and the document was denounced as godless, which is precisely what it is.”

    Opponents of the Constitution challenged ratifying conventions in nearly every state, calling attention to Article VI, Section 3: “No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    The United States Constitution is a completely secular political document. It begins “We the people,” and contains no mention of “God,” “Jesus,” or “Christianity.” Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” (Article VI), and “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (First Amendment).

    Regarding the FFRF display in Olympia, WA on public property….It, as well as all the other displays, are unconstitutional. Support our Constitution’s separation of church and state and set up the Nativity on church property next year. Problem solved!

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