Bill O’Reilly likes to write fake history, much like David Barton, and he has proven himself to be just about as impervious to facts as Barton. His work is so bad it is difficult to believe he is not really “pulling a Colbert.” He is that over the top.
On Wednesday’s edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly “accused” President Obama of having “deep emotional ties to Islam.” I say “accused” because for O’Reilly this is a problem, as it puts our country “in danger.”
Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
Many Americans, including this one, believe Barack Obama’s emotional attachment to the Muslim world has hurt the USA. There is no question the Obama administration’s greatest failure is allowing the Islamic terror group ISIS to run wild, murdering thousands of innocent people all over the world, including many Muslims…President Obama, as we all know, will not even use the words Islamic terrorism…
According to his half-sister, Barack Obama attended his half-brother’s wedding in the early 1990s. Malik Obama was a Muslim. The Factor has obtained pictures allegedly from that wedding, which we believe was held in Maryland. Details on the ceremony, the exact location, whether the reports that Barack Obama was the best man are very difficult to verify at this point. What we can tell you with certainty is that Barack Obama has deep emotional ties to Islam.
Republicans don’t get this kind of scrutiny for palling around with white supremacists, Neo-Confederate secessionists, domestic homegrown terrorists, Neo-Nazis and even the KKK, but President Obama can’t go to a Muslim wedding?
O’Reilly took issue with President Obama’s personal religious beliefs with the same reasoning that make his books so reviled by actual historians, bringing on Obama biographer David Mendell to lecture.
Check out O’Reilly’s “logic” if you will, again courtesy of MMFA:
DAVID MENDELL: Just because President Obama attended the wedding of a relative who was a Muslim doesn’t necessarily mean he has deep ties to Islam.
BILL O’REILLY (HOST): You wouldn’t say that if your father and your stepfather, both Islamists, and then your half brother and half sister, both Muslims, you wouldn’t call those deep ties?
MENDELL: Well, they are ties. President Obama is a very unique cultural figure. He has ties to various worlds. He has ties in the African-American world. He has ties to Kansas where his mother was born. He himself is a devout Christian. I would follow him around on the campaign trail back here in Illinois —
O’REILLY: Whoa, whoa, whoa, devout Christian? He doesn’t go to church on a regular basis. How did you arrive at that assessment? Why would he be — he’s a Christian. I believe he’s a Christian. I’m not one of these guys who says he’s a Muslim. But I don’t think he’s a devout Christian.
MENDELL: Well, he would go along the campaign trail here in Illinois, he would have the Holy Bible sitting in the door compartment of his vehicle, and he would refer to it consistently. He and Michelle would attend services of, you can go back to Jeremiah Wright if you want but —
O’REILLY: I don’t know if that’s devout in Jeremiah Wright’s church is a little political.
MENDELL: But he’s given expensive interviews about his beliefs in Christianity.
O’REILLY: Yeah but what you say and what you do are not necessarily the same thing. I base my analysis on the fact that in my opinion — and I could be wrong, but I’m not — President Obama’s sympathetic treatment of Muslims put the country in danger because he has not elevated the risks that we have to the level it should be. And he allowed ISIS to be created because of his foolish decision to withdraw troops in Iraq and to pretty much run wild for five years. So another president, angry about the jihad, would not have done that. Am I wrong?
MENDELL: Well, I think President Obama is very sympathetic to all cultures, all religions. He grew up in a multiplicity —
O’REILLY: Is that good for a commander in chief to be very sympathetic to all cultures and all beliefs when thousands of people are being murdered?
MENDELL: Obviously you think it’s a bad quality.
O’REILLY: You don’t?
MENDELL: Well, I think he is a unique figure in that he can see various viewpoints. I’m not here necessarily to argue —
O’REILLY: He’s the commander in chief of the country — wait, wait, wait, Mr. Mendell. Mr. Mendell, he’s the commander in chief of the United States, and his main charge is to protect us. It’s not main charge as to be touchy-feely to all different cultures.
Oh the hypocrisy of O’Reilly accusing Rev. Wright’s church of being “a little political,” when Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC, has admitted that the GOP is a religion. Just look at how politicized the Religious Right has made churches and pastors on behalf of Republican candidates. Maybe “a little political” is bad and “a lot political” is good?
By following O’Reilly’s tortured logic, because all my relatives and friends are Christians, you could “accuse me” of having deep ties to Christianity. However, that doesn’t make me less a Pagan. Muslim friends and family do not make Obama less a Christian.
A bigger problem for O’Reilly’s argument is simply this: so what? What difference does it make what religion Obama follows, or what religion friends and family follow? And what business is it of O’Reilly’s?
The First Amendment levels the playing field and forbids the establishment of a state religion. Article 6, Clause 3 of the Constitution, the “No Religious Test Clause,” states in language even O’Reilly should be able to comprehend that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
If it doesn’t matter what religion Obama is, it matters far less what religion his friends and family follow.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.