The Debate Over the L.A. County Seal

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 25, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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:  Now for the top story tonight, two other views [of the anti-Christian campaign by the ACLU]. Joining us from Washington, Reverend Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (search), and Andrea Lafferty, the executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition (search).

Do you see an anti-Christian jihad, pardon the pun, Ms. Lafferty?

ANDREA LAFFERTY, TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION:  Absolutely.  And the ACLU (search) has proven itself once again to be hypocrites.  You pointed out they've gone after the Los Angeles seal,  but they wouldn't protect Christian kids who were forced to engage in Islamic behavior and prayers and Ramadan (search) and all that kind of stuff.

But we see it all over from movies.  We see it in the public sector, particularly from the government sector, teachers, elected officials.  You know, you see the L.A. County.  They just rolled over.  I do believe there are a lot of Christians that are upset about it or people of faith, but they were more afraid of litigation than standing up for what's right.

O'REILLY:  No, I disagree entirely.  This litigation could have been conducted at no cost to the county of Los Angeles.

LAFFERTY:  They're claiming...

O'REILLY:  The three supervisors who voted against it were obviously anti-Christian.  Even though one of them is a Catholic.  It's Molina.

But listen, Ms. Lafferty, they could have -- this could have cost them five times as much to take the cross off the seal than it would be to litigate against the ACLU.  Now...

LAFFERTY:  Well, they're going to have to take it off of everything.  You're right.

O'REILLY:  Yes, it's going to cost five times as much.   So the...

LAFFERTY:  And what about -- excuse me, but what about on the seal there's a pagan goddess?  Are Christians -- and where's the ACLU on that?

O'REILLY:  Yes, you're talking about the goddess Pamona, who dominates the seal?

LAFFERTY:  Yes, well, that is...

O'REILLY:  Well, I want to ask Reverend...

LAFFERTY:  Why -- you know, don't they take that off?

O'REILLY:  I want to ask Reverend Lynn about that.

Now, reverend, your organization should be not only the cross should go, but shouldn't the goddess Pamona go too or what?

BARRY LYNN, REV., AMERICANS UNITED:  Well, look, I'd be perfectly happy if we took all religious symbols off of these county and city seals.  For one big reason, call me a conservative, but I don't like the idea of government adopting, embracing, seizing the images of any group.  And frankly, if there are pagans who still worship the goddess Pamona, I don't know if there are or not...

O'REILLY:  Yes, the Wickens do it.

LYNN: Los Angeles, they ought to object, too.  But...

O'REILLY:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, this is theoretical, but the fact is the ACLU does not object.  The fact is the ACLU did not go after the goddess Pamona.

LYNN:  Fine.

O'REILLY:  No, it's not fine.

LYNN:  I'm not here for the ACLU.

O'REILLY:  It's not fine.  But don't you object to the ACLU going on their anti-Christian jihad?

LYNN:  No, because they're not on an anti-Christian jihad, but let me tell you about those other incidents that you talked about.  For example, the fact that Muslim prayers are being recited in some schools.  I've sent letters to those schools every time we hear about it.  Why?  Because I think it's just as wrong to promote religion of Islam as it is to promote Christianity if you're a publicly paid schoolteacher anywhere in the United States.

O'REILLY:  But you are making my point for me.  You are making my point for me.  This is a selective process aimed at Christians to get Christian symbols removed from the public marketplace.

LYNN:  Not on my part, Bill...

O'REILLY:  You're -- that's what it is.

LYNN:  Bill, you're talking to me.  You're not talking to Ramona Rixton (ph) or the ACLU.  You're talking to me.  And I said that I have sent complaint letters about all of these incidents, because I do believe in a principle.  It's a principle...

O'REILLY:  Did you send a complaint letter to the ACLU, reverend?  Did you send a complaint letter to the ACLU?

LYNN:  No, I rarely send letters of complaint to other organizations.

O'REILLY:  Did you send a complaint letter to the judge who ruled in this, Judge Hamilton?  Did you send a complaint letter to her?

LYNN:  No, no, no.  But I'll tell you that as this is appealed, we would certainly take the position that it is inappropriate to have Muslim prayers recited, even as so-called part of history.

O'REILLY:  All right, but I'm telling you that...

LAFFERTY:  Can I jump in?

O'REILLY:'re -- go ahead, Andrea.

LAFFERTY:  A point of fact.  Barry, did you not used to work for the ACLU?

LYNN:  Of course...

LAFFERTY:  You're all of the ilk.

LYNN:  No, we're not...

LAFFERTY:  I mean, why are you going to go after his former employer?  They're going after religious symbols all across the country.

LYNN:  Yes...

LAFFERTY:  They seem to be gaining momentum.  They -- and people need to -- people watching this show need to do something about it.  Folks, you call L.A.  Tell them you're outraged that they're removing the symbol.  The cross is historical.

O'REILLY:  Well, you know, look, let me stop you both.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, Andrea, Andrea...


O'REILLY:  Hold it.

LYNN:  Bill?

O'REILLY:  No, not yet, Andrea.  I'm going to jump in here now.

LYNN:  Bill, here's the point...


O'REILLY:  Reverend, hold it, hold it, reverend, here's the point...

LYNN:  All right.

O'REILLY:  ...that this is going to continue because it's well funded.  ACLU is very well funded.  And they know the judges, like Judge Hamilton, who will rule in their favor all day long.

Here's how people can fight back.  They can get their rabbi or their minister and their priest, and pull them aside and go, listen, if you don't start, we are going to lose all our rights.  Because, look, reverend, there's a historical context for many religious symbols in our society, sir.  And you can't deny that there is.

LYNN:  Some.

O'REILLY:  And to try to knock all of them out is not only foolish, but it's dishonest, because we are a Judeo-Christian nation.

LAFFERTY:  That's right.

O'REILLY:  That's the philosophy we were founded on.

LYNN:  Let me talk about...

O'REILLY:  I got a minute left.  I'm going to give you 30 seconds, Reverend...

LYNN:  All right.

O'REILLY:  ...and you 30 seconds.

LYNN:  We were not founded as a Christian nation.  But the most important...

O'REILLY:  Judeo-Christian.

LYNN:  ...things that I think what is important is that people fight back in this way, whether they're religious or non-religious, we need to have a dialogue in this country where everybody is heard.  When you've got 2,025 Christian radio stations, when the highest grossing film of this year is Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," for anybody to say that there's a war against Christianity, or at least a successful war against Christianity, is absolutely absurd.

O'REILLY:  Those are private concerns.  That's -- those are private concerns.

LYNN:  Absolutely...

O'REILLY:  Come on.  You know that, reverend.  Those are private concerns, not public.

LYNN:  And private concerns is what built America and American religion, not government supported religion.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Go ahead, Andrea.

LAFFERTY:  But Bill, what makes America...

LYNN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) government support for religion to survive.

O'REILLY:  Andrea, go ahead.

LAFFERTY:  What makes America great, it was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  And that's what gives everybody religious freedom here in America, whether you're a Muslim, a Hindu, whatever.  You have the right to worship here because we are Judeo-Christian.

O'REILLY:  OK.  I'm going to wrap it up.  Thanks very much, reverend.  As always, Ms. LAFFERTY.

LYNN:  Thank you.

LAFFERTY:  Thank you.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 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, L.L.C.'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.