This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 24, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O’REILLY, HOST: "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight — Easter is coming. And look out, Easter Bunny. You’re not wanted in some places.
As you may know, there is a movement in the USA to ban displays of so-called religious holidays in the public square. We went through this at Christmastime.
Now some on the left deny that’s even happening. Writing Friday in The Kansas City Star , liberal columnist Mike Hendricks called reporting on this trend “hysteria.”
But in St. Paul, Minnesota, the city’s human rights director Tyrone Terrill apparently asked the city council secretary to remove decorations, including a stuffed rabbit, Easter eggs, and a happy Easter sign that she had put up in her work space.
The woman complied and a controversy ensued.
Joining us now from St. Paul, city council member, David Thune. This is just dumb. OK, would you agree with me? It’s just dumb?
DAVE THUNE, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, I think there’s a vast overreaction. I mean, I don’t believe in the government telling me what religion I should believe in, or frankly who I should marry. But you know, at some point we’ve got to have a little bit of, you know, everybody relax a little bit.
O’REILLY: I absolutely agree.
O’REILLY: So this poor woman, all she is a woman who wants to cheer up her work space, correct?
THUNE: Correct. She’s a wonderful woman and does this all year round. And people love it.
THUNE: That’s right.
O’REILLY: She brings in appropriate decorations, correct?
THUNE: Yes, she does.
O’REILLY: And she’s harmless. She’s not telling people they have to believe in Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah, correct?
THUNE: No, I’ve never been accosted.
O’REILLY: All right, all right. So I just want to set the scene.
O’REILLY: So there comes the human rights director, Tyrone Terrill, who would not appear with us tonight. Doesn’t believe I’m human. And he says to her, you got to get rid of the Easter Bunny. And you know, she doesn’t want to cause trouble, so gets rid of it, correct?
THUNE: That’s what happened. Tyrone is an excellent man. He’s done a great job for the city. And you know, we do take our human rights very seriously in St. Paul.
I think this is a case where just maybe we took it a step farther than it ought to have gone. And that’s where I came in and said, you know, we should really kind of back off on this.
O’REILLY: And what are you going to do about it?
THUNE: Well, right now, the secretary really does not want to become a cause celebre and carry her plight.
O’REILLY: Yes, she doesn’t want to be embarrassed.
THUNE: No, she’s just a wonderful person. So I think nothing will happen now.
But I suspect in the future, we will have other decorations, whether it’s St. Patrick or…
O’REILLY: All right, whoa, whoa. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We just flashed a picture of Kathy Lantry, who is the city council president in St. Paul. Now she opposes the Easter Bunny, is that correct? She doesn’t want the Easter Bunny around.
THUNE: Well, Kathy is a great American. And she was basically responding to what she was hearing from human rights and from the city attorney that we have to be careful about the government, you know, indicating that a person should believe in one religion or another.
O’REILLY: OK. So the Easter Bunny, we can’t believe? Are you telling me that Kathy Lantry will not let us believe in the Easter Bunny any more? Is that what you’re telling me?
THUNE: I don’t know if the Easter Bunny is an actual religious icon, to tell you the truth.
O’REILLY: I — look, bunny just comes and brings a little basket of chocolate and eggs. I don’t know whom that is converting. I mean, maybe it’s offensive.
Now look, how long can your city’s name hang on? St. Paul?
THUNE: St. Paul.
O’REILLY: How long, Mr. Thune, can St. Paul hold out, sir?
THUNE: I think — that’s the kind of question that we have to all look at and sort of think about that, you know, St. Paul — we all have a custom and a heritage. And I don’t see anything wrong with, you know, us talking about or sharing that heritage, as long as we’re not proselytizing.
O’REILLY: I have to tell you, I am outraged by St. Paul. Can’t it be citizen Paul? Comrade Paul?
THUNE: Just plain old Paul.
O’REILLY: Paul, a good guy? How about Minneapolis, Paul’s a good guy. That’s a good ring to it, Mr. Thune.
THUNE: Oh, we think a lot of St. Patrick, too, around here. So it’s going to cause us lots of problems.
O’REILLY: Be careful. All right.
O’REILLY: I’m going to wish everybody in St. Paul right now a Happy Easter.
THUNE: Thank you. Happy Easter to you.
O’REILLY: I hope you don’t hate me, St. Paul people. But this is going on all over the country. It is an absurd, nuts, intrusive. And it is funny we’re mocking it, but it has a serious undertone.
We appreciate you taking the time, Mr. Thune. Thank you.
THUNE: Thanks for caring.
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