Friday, December 5, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Pinhead

Notice how, in debating naysaying Megyn Kelly about the atheist display in Washington State, Bill keeps returning to the KKK as analogous to atheism:

Link: Or kelly

Via Hot Air, where Allahpundit buys into the liberal mythology of the Establishment Clause -- but that's not relevant to O'Reilly's pinheadedness, which is my topic here. To O'Reilly, the anti-religious sentiments of the atheist display -- meant as "equal time" to a Christmas display at the state capitol -- are obnoxious, and therefore he gets hung up on the idea that the KKK could demand equal time with an MLK memorial.

Megyn tries to explain the current state of constitutional jurisprudence in the matter, an explanation which would probably be non-objectionable to Justice Scalia or any other conservative legal scholar. Yet O'Reilly won't let go of his analogy: The atheist statement is obnoxious, ergo, the Klan. It's like Abbott and Costello. "I don't know!" "Third base!"

What O'Reilly can't seem to get his mind around is the fact that religious expression has a special status under the First Amendment, a status that racial expression does not have. Washington State has granted a place in the public square to expressions of religious belief and therefore (at least so far as current precedents suggest), the state must do some CYA by allowing contrary expressions, or else they'll risk an ACLU lawsuit. The Klan is going to have a much higher threshold to cross in demanding equal time on MLK Day, because that's not a religious observation.

O'Reilly's repetition of the same irrelevant point indicates either (a) he hasn't bothered to study anything about First Amendment law, or (b) he's just baiting Megyn for the sake of "good TV."

Now, returning to Allah's notion of the Establishment Clause as forbidding state or local governments from recognizing religion: This is the "incorporation doctrine" view of the 14th Amendment that makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers' intent.

At the time the First Amendment was ratified, there were states (including Connecticut and Massachusetts) that had established churches. In forbidding the federal government ("Congress shall make no law ...") from legislating in "respect" to any "establishment of religion," the First Amendment not only forbade Congress from creating any official religion at the national level, but also forbade Congress from interfering with any of the official religions (i.e., establishments) in the various states.

The Establishment Clause, therefore, forbade the federal government from interfering with religion in any way whatsoever, while leaving the states absolutely free to do as they pleased. And at the time the 14th Amendment was proposed and ratified, no one suggested that the new amendment would change that arrangement. It was not until decades later that the "incorporation doctrine" was propounded as requiring the federal courts to compel state and local governments to abide by Bill of Rights restrictions that had originally been intended specifically to limit federal power.

This bait-and-switch is one of the dirtiest tricks in history. Instead of a limited federal government, as the Founders intended, we now have a Leviathan that was (according to the courts) literally compelled to interfere in the routine affairs of local government. We no longer have a union of states; the states have been abolished, except as mere administrative units of the all-powerful federal Leviathan. Had Madison for one minute imagined such a state of affairs developing as a result of the Constitution, he'd have told the Convention to go straight to hell, left Philadelphia and gone home to tell his constituents to take up arms if any such scheme were ever proposed again.


  1. O'Reilly's argument is a priori. As Megyn said, he's taking the christian's side of the argument. I think the atheist's sign offends his sensibilities and he can't get around it. As far as Madison goes, I don't think he or others would have had the reaction you ascribe. May be they would have been more succinct in their creating the bill of rights as to leave fewer questions to be resolved by congress or the supreme court. Did any one notice that it looked like Megyn wasn't wearing anything below the waist? :)

  2. You're late to the "O'Reilly Is A Pinhead" party. By the by, never, ever, take O'R's word for 'what the Catholic Church teaches.' He's nominally Catholic, but demonstrates very little actual knowledge of the Faith.

    As to the 14th: it's almost a cause over which we could have a Civil War, if we hadn't already done that...