Admit it now, have you been oppressing Bill O'Reilly again? Aren't you ashamed of yourself?
"Martyrdom is a huge deal in Catholicism -- the Lives of the Saints are filled with stories of martyrs tortured and killed for their beliefs -- and hey, in many strands of Christianity, if you're not being oppressed, you're not doing it right. . . .
"I can call Bill O'Reilly a bigot all day long, and that has nothing to do with me oppressing him for his religion. For what it's worth, I happen to know a lot of Catholics who are not bigots and don't give two fucks about gay people getting married! Or, quite frankly, what non-Catholics do, period, so long as they're not bothering anyone."
-- Robyn Pennacchia, in "Bill O'Reilly Pretty Sure Christians
Are Being 'Verbally' Murdered In This Country"
Are Being 'Verbally' Murdered In This Country"
Wingnut warrior John Stossel as the voice of reason? You know we must be dealing with some big-deal kind of crazy. And we are, we are.
Make sure your hard hats are safely in place, ladies and germs, and join me as we venture into a toxic swampland ateem with flora and fauna that may sometimes bear a passing resemblance to their counterparts in the real world but should all be treated as lethally contaminated. Yes, friends, we're going to journey into a realm from which few travelers return with their sanity intact: the mind of Bill O'Reilly.
As The Frisky's Robyn Pennacchia pinpoints in the post we're about to look at, Billo is never more content or at peace than when he's presenting himself as a martyr, and in these, his years of official dotage, he seems to have been feeling more and more oppressed. And since he is, as he always likes to remind us, a "journalist," nothing is more important to his reporting of a story than his feelings. In fact, most of the time his feelings are the story. Specifically, he is feeling oppressed as a Christian! This takes quite a bit of doing, but if anybody can successfully masquerade as a victim of oppression on the basis of his membership in a pulverizingly dominant oppressor class, it's our Billo.
Here's how Robyn reported this meeting of, er, minds in her post yesterday, "Bill O'Reilly Pretty Sure Christians Are Being 'Verbally' Murdered In This Country":
Ever the culture warrior, Bill O’Reilly spoke with his agnostic but still totally conservative friend John Stossel Tuesday night about his fears regarding the ways Christians are totally oppressed in this country.As Robyn goes on to point out, Billo comes honestly by his "gung-ho" attitude toward "the idea of being oppressed." Martyrdom, she notes, "is a huge deal in Catholicism -- the Lives of the Saints are filled with stories of martyrs tortured and killed for their beliefs -- and hey, in many strands of Christianity, if you’re not being oppressed, you’re not doing it right.
While Stossell suggested that while there may be places in the world where Christians are oppressed, they are not oppressed here in America, and are certainly not being killed here in America for being Christians. O’Reilly disagreed, you see, because they are being “verbally killed.”
Now, while you may think that O’Reilly was suggesting that people are going around using the Avada Kedavra curse on innocent bible-believing Christians, he was not. His big example, naturally, was the fact that people in department stores say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”–you know, because nothing oppresses Christians like acknowledging that Jewish people exist and also have a holiday around that time! His second example was the horrifying fact that–gasp–secular progressives can go around calling Christians bigots for not wanting gay people to get married, or say they are anti-women just because they don’t believe women should have any say in their reproductive choices! They can just say these things! Out loud! And in a room full of people!
Stossell attempted to be the voice of “reason”–suggesting that the problem wasn’t so much people who are agnostic or atheist, but “big government” infringing on “individual liberty.” Which is also not the case here, as it would actually be more of a “big government” thing to require department store employees to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” or to put me in jail for calling Bill O’Reilly a bigot and a chauvinist pig.
The only example O’Reilly brought up that could reasonably be argued as the government infringing on “individual liberty” is the whole thing where bigots don’t want to make cakes for gay weddings. However, the thing is–when the government doesn’t allow businesses to discriminate like that, they are actually protecting the “individual liberty” of people who should be able to buy from any public business they choose. Yes, in this situation they are choosing between the “individual rights” of a business and the individual rights of a person, but historically, in these situations the rights of individual people have won out over the rights of businesses to discriminate.
YOU WANT TO BE OPPRESSED? OKAY,
WE'LL GIVE YOU OPPRESSED, LOOFAH BOY!
From Billo's passion for martyrdom, it's just a small leap to an offer one can hardly see the poor fellow refusing. "I also think this may have something to do with O’Reilly’s well known kinky side," Robyn says. "So I have an offer!" And what an offer she has!
O’Reilly, you pay me $5000 an hour and I will totally oppress you.Robyn's susceptibility to the Martyrdom of Billo appears to be connected to a Catholic upbringing of her own, which she appears to have put safely behind her.
I will take my free birth control pills right in front of you while cackling maniacally about all the babies I’m not going to have.
I will take you to a gay wedding!
I will repeatedly tell you allllll about how I don’t believe in god and also how evolution and global warming are definitely real things. And you will just have to sit there while no one comes to arrest me.
I will make you clean my entire apartment while I read to you from Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex.”
I will poke you with a pointy stick until you finally give up and say “Happy Holidays!”
I’ll drip hot wax on your face while making you recite the Pledge of Allegiance in it’s original form–without the “under god” part.
I will throw falafel at you every time you mention Jesus or the Bible. If it continues, I will lock you in the bathroom for days on end.
For an extra $10,000, I will follow you around for a week and refuse to let you buy or sell anything unless you agree to take the mark of the beast, and then threaten to behead you for refusing to worship the anti-christ or Satan or whatever.
I mean, if you want, we can totally go for martyrdom here. I could press your hand on a George Foreman grill and call you St. Lawrence? Nero used to sew Christians up in animal carcasses and throw them to the dogs–I could like, put you in an Easter Bunny costume and send you to a furry convention? Or we could go like St. Cecelia and I can make you take a crazy hot bath–without a “falafel thingy” while you try to sing and I criticize you for being off-pitch? I don’t know. I mean, I kind of faint at the sight of blood so I won’t be able to follow it up with half-beheading you and letting you bleed out over three days. Plus, you know, I just had you wash the floor. This also rules out tearing you limb from limb or having you drawn and quartered.
Truth be told, I don’t even really know how to oppress Bill O’Reilly for being Christian. At least not properly. I don’t want to physically hurt anyone or throw them in jail for expressing their opinions. I just want to be allowed to do my own thing, and not be required to participate in the Christian religion if I choose not to. I absolutely believe that people have the right to practice their religion, I just don’t believe that right extends to infringing on the freedoms of other people to not practice their religion.What's more, Robyn thinks "it is absurd to suggest that just because someone practices a religion, that they ought to be protected from criticism." She notes that Billo himself shows a keen understanding of this point "when it comes to other religions -- like, for instance, Islam." Yes, when it comes to other religions, Billo can be pretty free with the criticism.
It is, in fact, "quite blasphemous," Robyn insists, "when you ask people to participate in your religion without believing in it." She goes on to ask, "Do you really think your god wants that?" (Now this may be going one step too far. Because yes, I think Billo probably does think his god wants this, very much.)
The saints and martyrs? The oppression and torture they faced had nothing to do with not being “allowed” to force other non-believers to abide by their religion’s rules. They just wanted to be free to practice their religion and be left alone. You can do that here, in America. Just like I can “practice” my non-religion. We’re not going to force you to take part in pagan rituals, or any other religious practices you don’t believe in, so try extending the same courtesy to the rest of us.Oh, I get it. Billo extending courtesy to anyone outside the wingnut teepee? It's a fantasy! You know, a Tax Day fantasy!