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Will Christian leadership in US stand up for Easter?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly

Factor," March 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be

updated.

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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight, my newspaper column this week posted on BillOReilly.com tomorrow evening challenges Christian leadership in America to do something about the attacks on their traditions.

You rarely see those kinds of assaults against Jews or Muslims. In places like Alabama, the Easter Bunny is now on the run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYDIA DAVENPORT, HERITAGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We have had a parent that question us about some of the things that we do here at school so we are just trying to make sure that we respect and honor everybody's differences we just try to make sure that we don't say the Easter Bunny so that we don't infringe on the rights of others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The academic bunny now or something.

With us the senior pastor of the powerful First Baptist Church in Dallas, Dr. Robert Jeffress. All right, we talked about this before a few weeks ago.

ROBERT JEFFRESS, SENIOR PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN DALLAS: Yes.

O'REILLY: But to me it's inexplicable. If you do something anti- Semitic, the Jewish faith has put together a number of organizations that will come right out and get in your face.

JEFFRESS: Sure.

O'REILLY: If you insult Allah or Muhammad, the prophet, the Muslims, you know, you will be threatened with death.

JEFFRESS: That's right.

O'REILLY: All right? And we certainly don't want that. Now, we see the school districts saying Easter bunny. Now, we know that Easter bunny is a secular symbol all right and it's just to bring pleasure to children so that they can have some kind of fun in a primarily religious ceremony for adults. But this is insulting to Christian believers, is it not?

JEFFRESS: It absolutely is and I think the reason, Bill, people aren't standing up and fighting back many Christians think it's un- Christian to stand up and fight for your rights.

O'REILLY: So you've got to turn the other cheek? Is that what it is?

JEFFRESS: Yes. Well and that's certainly true in personal offenses. But I reminded thousands of pastors just last year that the Apostle Paul spent two years fighting against the Roman legal system to preserve his right to speak freely. We need to do the same thing as well.

The other problem Bill is a lot of Christians have bought into this perverted idea of the First Amendment. They don't understand. The First Amendment simply says Congress can't establish a state religion. It has nothing to say about Easter egg hunts. I mean the Easter egg hunt is not a state religion.

O'REILLY: I know but no court is going to stop an Easter egg hunt?

JEFFRESS: No absolutely not.

O'REILLY: But when you go to Alabama. Alabama, the heart of the Bible Belt and you have a school district saying, you know, I'm sorry, using the word Easter is insulting. It's insulting to not use the word Easter in Alabama, to 90 percent. Yet the 10 percent who would be upset by the Easter bunny, they should be institutionalized by the way. I mean their rights, so-called rights are given, you know, preference than everybody else. And I will never get that. I will never understand that.

JEFFRESS: Now you know part of it is this freedom from religion foundation they say and many Americans have bought into this that somehow there is a freedom in the First Amendment from religious expression that you never have to see a nativity scene or hear a prayer at the graduation or participate in an Easter egg hunt. There is no such guarantee Bill. It's a freedom of religious expression that the First Amendment promised.

O'REILLY: But you know it has on the local level been perverted the First Amendment and the wall of separation and all that.

JEFFRESS: Yes.

O'REILLY: But, the basic point is that the Christian community and 80 percent of Americans describe themselves as Christian.

JEFFRESS: Yes.

O'REILLY: Scattered. It's scattered now. I mean, you don't deal with the Catholics, the Mormons don't deal with the Baptists and it's all over the place and there is no central authority.

JEFFRESS: Yes and Bill, I'll correct you kindly on one thing. I do cooperate with the Catholics. I stand with the Catholic Church and we march in the pro-life movement.

O'REILLY: But who do you -- but who -- who do you stand with though? What person? There isn't really a leader in the American Catholic Church, right?

JEFFRESS: Right, right.

O'REILLY: Who do you stand with?

JEFFRESS: Well it has to be local priests that I work with.

O'REILLY: But there is no board or anything like that.

JEFFRESS: No, there isn't.

O'REILLY: There is no Christian society like the Jewish Defamation League.

JEFFRESS: You know, fortunately we have the Liberty Institute that stood up for these students that you were talking about earlier.

O'REILLY: Right but that's privately funded.

JEFFRESS: That's right.

O'REILLY: But there is no Christian organization that can come out and say you just insulted Jesus, you know, in a publicly-funded institution, the state of Florida.

JEFFRESS: Yes.

O'REILLY: Hey, you better knock it off.

JEFFRESS: Well and that's the downside, but I do think, Bill, all of our viewers, what they need to do is start pushing back against this kind of stuff even on the local level.

O'REILLY: How? How?

JEFFRESS: Ok let me give you an illustration. Years ago a principal told my third grade daughter that she couldn't pass out a water bottle at school because it had a bible verse on it. I called him up and politely but nicely said you know my daughter has First Amendment rights as a Christian and as an American. She is free to do that. He finally backed down.

Now, I believe that Christians everywhere on the local level would start pushing back against this encroachment, I think we might see it stop. But the other side of this is, you know, the power of the resurrection message is powerful enough to overcome these wacko professors you have been talking about.

O'REILLY: I'm not sure about that.

JEFFRESS: But oh it will. It prevailed over the Roman Empire. It will prevail but until then we need to stand up.

O'REILLY: Yes but right now, Christianity is on the run in this country.

JEFFRESS: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Getting pounded. So maybe you are right eventually. Now I just want to mention that the Pastor is opening what, the largest church in America in Dallas.

JEFFRESS: It's the largest church building program, a Protestant- building program in modern history, $130 million project. We open up Easter Sunday on five blocks of downtown Dallas. And encourage any viewers to come and see us.

O'REILLY: Look at that.

JEFFRESS: That's our fountain we dedicated on last Sunday night. It's magnificent. It's water features that go along with great hymns. It's a spiritual oasis in the heart of America's greatest city, I think.

O'REILLY: Well congratulations thanks for coming in here.

JEFFRESS: Thanks for having me Bill.

O'REILLY: Nice to see you.

JEFFRESS: It's good to see you.

O'REILLY: Happy Easter to you.

JEFFRESS: You too.

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