O'Reilly brought Christmas war to CavutoDecember 1, 2005 6:03 PM EST ››› SAM GILL
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On the November 30 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Bill O'Reilly continued his campaign to promote use of the holiday greeting "Merry Christmas" in retail stores. His effort to combat retail stores he believes are replacing "Merry Christmas" with the nondenominational "Happy Holidays" is part of his broader mission "to rescue" the Christmas holiday from "secular progressives."
To lead the segment, Cavuto aired O'Reilly's November 28 advice to corporate America that "[e]very company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born." O'Reilly then estimated that 15 percent of the country was not Christian and, of those, "maybe 1 percent are totally insane ... They're the ones who are offended." When Cavuto countered that some businesses were trying to be more inclusive, O'Reilly rebuked, "This is insulting to Christian America."
O'Reilly recently advanced his theory that an organized "secular progressive" movement is implementing a "very secret plan" against Christianity in America. He reiterated his concern -- which he previously discussed on the November 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor -- about the secular progressive agenda:
O'REILLY: [T]hey [secular progressives] don't want any message of spirituality or Judeo-Christian tradition because that stands in the way of gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, all of the greatest hits on the secular progressive play card.
O'Reilly then pointed to progressive financier George Soros as "the moneyman behind it" and declared, "I say, fight back."
From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Well, you know, on Monday night my colleague Bill O'Reilly said something so simple, controversial, but so dead-on accurate. I want you to listen to this. Take a look.
O'REILLY [video clip]: Every company in America should be on their knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming "Merry Christmas."
O'REILLY: Well, it's absurd. This is so insane, I don't think of anything -- I've seen anything this stupid in the 30 years I've been in this business. Here you have a national public holiday signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant in 1870. Christmas, all right? Federal holiday, everybody gets off, no mail delivered, everybody shuts down. Federal holiday. Why is it there? To honor a philosopher, Jesus. Whose philosophy was part of the foundation of our country. All of this is indisputable. Can't dispute it. OK? A man was born, his name is Jesus, he had a philosophy, the philosophy was incorporated by the Founding Fathers to make up the United States of America, U.S. Grant signs into law the holiday, Christmas. Now, we have people who are offended by that. Well, tough, right? Tough. Some people are offended by fingernails; I'm not pulling mine out. So I'm feeling -- I'm offended by everything you do, we're not firing you. OK? Offended? Too bad. But then --
CAVUTO: But the point is with companies -- they may have a lot to be grateful for.
O'REILLY: You have to let me warm up.
CAVUTO: 'Cause you seem to be going off track.
O'REILLY: Well, I'm not. Then the business community says we don't want to offend anybody, so we're not going to say "Merry Christmas." We're going to say "Happy Holidays, all right? That offends millions of Christians, see? Eighty-five percent of the country calls itself Christian. Fifteen percent of the country -- you figure these people could do the math if they're CEOs. Eighty-five percent Christian; they are into Christmas, OK? That's their big day. Fifteen percent aren't. Now of those 15 percent, maybe 1 percent are totally insane. They're nuts. They're the ones who are offended. So what it comes down to is that these CEOs and big companies -- big companies, like Wal-Mart, Sears, KMart -- will not say "Merry Christmas" in their stores or advertising to cater to 1 percent of Americans who are insane.
CAVUTO: Is it more for Wal-Mart? Because they're everywhere; they're in China, they're in Hong Kong -- maybe they're wondering, well, you know, the percentages even change when you go global --
O'REILLY: They don't have to say "Merry Christmas" in China, OK? They can say whatever they say in China, "Happy Winter." All right? "We like pandas." Say whatever you want. This is America. This is the big commercial holiday. You're not going to acknowledge the holiday? Then I'm not shopping there. And that's what the bottom line is here. The backlash is building, building, building, and these retailers are going to find out as Federated [Department Stores Inc.] found out last year -- that's Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Burdines. They didn't say it last year. This year Federated is saying it, so they took a hit.
CAVUTO: So, do you think -- right -- do you think there's a connection between Wal-Mart saying, you know, maybe our sales might not be up to snuff and this position they're taking on Christmas?
O'REILLY: Look, I like the Wal-Mart guys. I'm not a Wal-Mart basher. I think that they serve a tremendous service to this country by giving people with not a lot of money an opportunity to buy stuff. If their CEO was standing right here, I'd say, "You're insane." You're losing good will, OK? There's no reason to do this, because all they have to do, Neil, is say "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanzaa." Their store is big enough to have those banners all over the place. You telling me it's not big enough? You can have it all. Christians aren't going to be mad if you say "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa," as long as you acknowledge what it's all about, the federal holiday of Christmas. If you don't, then Christians start to say, "You don't like us. You're anti-Christian, you have an anti-Christian bias."
CAVUTO: You don't buy the take that they're trying to be inclusive or the companies that have that position are?
O'REILLY: This is insulting to Christian America. It's insulting. This is driven by secular progressives --
CAVUTO: The Jews and Muslims say it's insulting to keep the Christmas.
O'REILLY: I say that Muslims are less than 1 percent of the population, and Jews are less than 3 percent of the population. They're entitled to their opinion, they're entitled to their opinion and they are entitled not to shop in places that say "Merry Christmas," just as I'm entitled not to shop in places that don't. That's what I say. But the bottom line on this is this: Secular progressives which are driving this movement, OK, don't want Christmas. They don't want it as a federal holiday, they don't want any message of spirituality or Judeo-Christian tradition because that stands in the way of gay marriage, legalized drugs, euthanasia, all of the greatest hits on the secular progressive play card. If they can succeed in getting religion out of the public arena --
CAVUTO: Who's "they?"
O'REILLY: George Soros. He's the moneyman behind it. It's a philosophy. Go on the websites and look at it. It's there. It's a secular, progressive --
CAVUTO: It has come to this --
O'REILLY: They're afraid. They've been intimidated, but I say, fight back.