This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, December 1, 2003.

Watch The O'Reilly Factor weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the Radio Factor!

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Factor Follow-Up segment tonight, we have been telling you that here in New York City the public schools encourage holiday displays of the Jewish Menorah and the Islamic star and crescent, but school policy disallows displaying the nativity scene to honor Christmas.  That has led to a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Law Center (search) and a lot of bad feelings.

With us now are two New York guys, former [Republican] senator from New York Al D'Amato and former [Democratic] mayor of the Big Apple, Ed Koch.

Mayor, we'll begin with you.

ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  A lot of people saying this is flat-out anti-Christian bias by New York City public schools.

KOCH:  No, I think you're saying that, and, in fact, what you're doing...

O'REILLY:  I can produce thousands of letters that say that.

KOCH:  I understand that, but what you're really doing is creating racial -- I should say religious disharmony by doing what you're doing.  So let me tell your viewers what I think is the situation.

O'REILLY:  Sure, absolutely.

KOCH:  My own personal view is I wouldn't care at all if there were a nativity scene in a classroom.  But my personal view and your personal view don't count.

Courts make the decision as to whether or not a religious symbol is a religious symbol and whether -- if it is, can it be displayed in a public school.  It can be displayed in a private school, but whether it can be displayed in a private school.

And the courts have decided that there are certain symbols that are secular, such as a Christmas tree or a Menorah or a Muslim crescent, and there are certain scenes that are religious that may not be displayed.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Now let me stop you there.

KOCH:  Yes.

O'REILLY:  You know that Christmas is a federal holiday, correct?

KOCH:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  All right.  You know it was signed into law by Congress, correct?

KOCH:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Why was it signed into law?

KOCH:  Well, let me...

O'REILLY:  No, no, no.

KOCH:  No, no, no.  Wait a minute.

O'REILLY:  Why was it signed into law?  Look...

KOCH:  No, I will give my answer, and you'll give your question.  My answer is a very simple one.  If you have a beef, which you obviously do, and people who agree with you have that beef, then you have the courts decide it, and, in fact, the...

O'REILLY:  Whoa, whoa.  But you're not answering my question.

KOCH:  ... courts -- oh, I am answering your question.

O'REILLY:  No, you're not.  Why did Congress sign the holiday of Christmas into law?

KOCH:  You asked the -- listen, the -- why is Sunday a holiday and you don't work on Sunday?  Why?  Because the...

O'REILLY:  The bible says you rest on the seventh day.

KOCH:  Yes, OK.  All right.  But there are people who observe Friday, and they -- the Muslims.  Jews...

O'REILLY:  But Judeo-Christian philosophy...

KOCH:  Jews observe Saturday, and Christians observe Sunday, and Seventh Day Adventists (search) observe Saturday.

O'REILLY:  What's your point?

KOCH:  Well, I'm simply saying that Sunday is the official day of rest in this...

O'REILLY:  Correct.

KOCH:  ... country, and I have no problem with that.  I am saying that what you're doing, probably not intentionally, but nevertheless doing it, seeking to say, well, if you can show a Menorah, you can show a crescent, why can't you show a nativity scene...

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.  And More is going to win this lawsuit.

KOCH:  ... and I am saying -- and I am saying that's a matter for the courts to decide...

O'REILLY:  Not the people.

KOCH:  ... including the Supreme Court which has made those decisions.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Let's see what Senator D'Amato says.

AL D'AMATO, FORMER NEW YORK SENATOR:  Well, you know, let me say this to you.  The school system is saying that the crescent and the Menorah are symbolic historic symbols.

O'REILLY:  Correct.

D'AMATO:  I believe that to be the case.  But I believe equally a Christmas tree and a nativity scene are equally symbolic historic in nature, and I think the school people make a great mistake by taking that position so that the Christmas tree, so that the nativity scene are being...

KOCH:  They allow Christmas trees.

D'AMATO:  No, they're being banned, Ed.  They're being banned.

O'REILLY:  No, the Christmas tree is allowed.

KOCH:  They're allowed.

D'AMATO:  Yes, but you know where they're not, though?  In certain states -- let me say -- in Vermont, you can't say merry -- kids can't say merry Christmas.

O'REILLY:  All right, but let's keep it here in New York City.  I mean here...

D'AMATO:  All right.  It is a...

O'REILLY:  Look, the mayor's right in -- it has been defined by the courts that the creche is a religious symbol, which is wrong, because you can honor the philosopher Jesus, and they did when they passed a law making it a federal holiday, all right, and this is his birthday.

D'AMATO:  Well, let me say this.  The mayor is right about one thing, that the courts have the right to make a determination on this, and I absolutely believe that we make a mistake when we say that one symbol, OK -- and let's take the Menorah or let's take the crescent -- and say that it is not religious.  That's nonsense.  Of course it is.

O'REILLY:  It is religious.

D'AMATO:  Of course it is.

O'REILLY:  Absolutely it is.

D'AMATO:  And it has historic symbolism, as does the scene of the creche, the nativity scene.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Here's what I'd say to you, Mayor Koch.

KOCH:  Yes.

O'REILLY:  I would say that if you're going to outlaw the creche, the nativity scene, then you...

KOCH:  Not me.

O'REILLY:  Not you.  I mean...

KOCH:  The courts.

O'REILLY:  ... you're a good guy.  You'd have everything in there.

KOCH:  The courts.

O'REILLY:  You're an inclusive guy.  I know that.  You should then -- the people who want to outlaw this, the ACLU and their buddies in the New York City school system, should petition Congress to withdraw the Christmas holiday and put a winter holiday.

KOCH:  Oh, I don't agree with that, and -- firstly, you know, it's...

O'REILLY:  It's Christmas.

KOCH:  It's so easy to beat the hell out of the ACLU, and I do it myself along with you on other matters.  But the fact of the matter is they're doing what they were created to do...

O'REILLY:  What?

KOCH:  ... and...

O'REILLY:  Defend child molesters?

KOCH:  No, that's ridiculous.

O'REILLY:  It's not ridiculous.  What they're doing up in Massachusetts.

KOCH:  Now listen to me because, you know, when you do that, you do it a disservice to...

O'REILLY:  No, I don't.  I tell the truth, and you won't define it as the truth.

KOCH:  I -- no, no.  I like to think...

O'REILLY:  What do you mean no?  They're defending NAMBLA pro bono in Massachusetts.  Fact.

KOCH:  Look, everybody -- listen to me.  Listen.  Bill, everybody, whether it's the people in Cuban Guantanamo Bay or some sex pervert, they are entitled to a lawyer, and they are entitled...

O'REILLY:  That's right.  Paid by them.

KOCH:  ... and they are -- no, the Supreme Court...

O'REILLY:  No, they're not entitled to pro bono service, Mayor.

KOCH:  The Supreme Court has said that you are -- if you can't afford a lawyer, you are entitled...

O'REILLY:  That's right.  These guys, the ACLU, went in and...

KOCH:  ... to have the...

O'REILLY:  ... said we are going to make this a free-speech issue.  Come on.

KOCH:  Well, we...

O'REILLY:  We're getting off the point.

KOCH:  Well, no, we're not.  We're on the point.  What you do is kick the hell out of people who disagree with you.

O'REILLY:  No.

KOCH:  Can't you respect their point of view?

O'REILLY:  No, I cannot.  I cannot respect the organization that...

KOCH:  They respect yours.

O'REILLY:  No, they don't respect mine.

KOCH:  They say to the court you decide.

O'REILLY:  They are undermining the country.  They are secularizing the society and doing a tremendous amount of damage.  It's my job to keep an eye on the powerful.

KOCH:  Well, let me -- let me...

D'AMATO:  No,.  Let me make an observation.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead.

D'AMATO:  Let me make an observation and pose a question.  Are we really saying that the crescent and the Menorah are not religious symbols...

O'REILLY:  The mayor is.

KOCH:  No, I'm...

D'AMATO:  ... because...

KOCH:  No, I'm not.  No, I'm not giving you a personal point of view.

D'AMATO:  Mr. Mayor...

KOCH:  I wouldn't care.  Let me just say this.  I told you at the outset...

O'REILLY:  No, I know personally...

KOCH:  ... I wouldn't care...

O'REILLY:  ... you are, but you're going along with the court ruling.

KOCH:  Not going along.  We are a government of laws...

O'REILLY:  They're going to lose this.

KOCH:  ... and a government of laws means that when the...

D'AMATO:  Well, I hope they lose.

KOCH:  ... courts have made a decision...

O'REILLY:  All right.  Let me give the senator the last word.

KOCH:  ... you abide by it.

D'AMATO:  Let me tell you this.  I hope -- I hope they lose it because...

O'REILLY:  So do I.

D'AMATO:  ... it is hypocritical to say there are two religious symbols, which are historic and symbolic, and I have no problem with them being displayed.  It's part of our culture.  And I also...

O'REILLY:  Sure.  I want the Menorah and the crescent to be displayed.

D'AMATO:  I have no problem, but I...

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.  Let them all be displayed.

D'AMATO:  ... but I also believe that Christmas and the nativity scene should be part of that...

O'REILLY:  It's history!  It's history!

D'AMATO:  ... should be part of that historic symbol.

O'REILLY:  Right.  All right.  Now I just want to make clear that Mayor Koch is a Christmas kind of guy, all right, so...

D'AMATO:  And he's not...

O'REILLY:  He's not against Christmas.

D'AMATO:  He's not a scrooge.

KOCH:  Not at all.

O'REILLY:  Gentlemen, thanks very much.  Very interesting.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.