New York City's Secular Assault on Christmas

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, November 19, 2003.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Unresolved Problems segment tonight, the secular assault on  Christmas continues all over the USA.  Tomorrow night, we'll tell you about how the ACLU (search) is attacking Christmas in Colorado.

But tonight, the New York City school system is involved in a court case.  Under current city policy, Jewish menorahs are allowed to be displayed for Hanukkah (search) and the Islamic star and crescent can be shown during Ramadan (search).

But the nativity scene (search) cannot be shown during the Christmas season.  Now as you may know, Christmas is a federal holiday signed into law by President U.S. Grant (search).  The day honors the philosophy of Jesus.  With us now is Mark Green, former New York city public advocate who did run for mayor, maybe mayor some day here in the city.

All right, now look, the Thomas Moore Center (search) is suing the city.  The city will not provide any spokespeople, including Mayor Bloomberg (search).  They're all frightened to death, because they know they were on the wrong side of this issue.

MARK GREEN, FMR. NYC PUBLIC ADVOCATE:  Glad to speak for Mayor Bloomberg in this one...

O'REILLY:  All right.  You got a menorah, you got the star and crescent, but you can't have a nativity scene on a federal holiday named Christmas.  It's insane, right?

GREEN:  The opposite of insane.  They're not attacking Christianity, they're supporting the First Amendment.  Bill, there's a time and a place for everything.  And I happen to have friends who celebrate Christmas.  What a holiday.

They have family dinners.  The next morning under the tree, our presents.  I don't remember that...

O'REILLY:  All right.

GREEN:  And so, if you're spending public money on public education, somebody has to draw a line, difficult as it is.  So they decided -- they could be wrong -- let's have a...

O'REILLY:  They could be wrong.

GREEN:  ... let's have Christmas trees and Santas in schools because they're slightly religious but largely secular.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  Is it -- is it Santamas?  Is it Christmas tree?  What -- what's the name of the holiday, Mr. Green?

GREEN:  Santa Goldberg.

O'REILLY:  No.  What's the name of holiday?

GREEN:  Well...

O'REILLY:  What's the name of the federal holiday, sir?

GREEN:  Well, it's called Christmas.

O'REILLY:  OK, thank you.  That's where we want to start.  And it's based upon the philosophy of Jesus Christ, correct?  Am I wrong here?  That's what the holiday celebrates, the birth of Jesus Christ.

GREEN:  We should all celebrate all the holidays.

O'REILLY:  No.  Let's just walk through this.  You just admitted the federal holiday was named Christmas.  How could you not?  It's based upon the birth of Jesus Christ, correct?

GREEN:  Yes.

O'REILLY:  So you cannot depict that birth, which a federal holiday is based on.  That is insane, sir.

GREEN:  Now would you consider it insane if you went to a public school that was 2 percent Jewish and 98 percent Christian and only Jewish symbols were shown, in effect proselytizing, you'd say, excuse me, wait a second.  I don't want to be proselytized by another religion.  And so there's a time and a place for everything, Bill.

O'REILLY:  That's not what's happening here.

GREEN:  Let me just finish.  One second.  One second.

O'REILLY:  You have the Menorah...

GREEN:  Adults...

O'REILLY:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.  You're going way off the point.  You have a Menorah...

GREEN:  Adults are different than children.

O'REILLY:  No, no.  You have a Menorah for Hanukkah.

GREEN:  Right, right.

O'REILLY:  I'm fine with it.  You have a crescent and star, OK, for Ramadan.  I'm fine with it.

GREEN:  Right.

O'REILLY:  You don't have the nativity scene which the Christmas holiday is based on and everybody gets off on the public school system.  That is prejudiced against Christians, insane, and insulting to Christians, and every Christian should be outraged about it.

GREEN:  Our country is 95 percent Christian.


GREEN:  I was a city official, and I got a hundred thousand complaints over 10 years about all kinds of city services.  Not one person said, you know, one of the biggest problems in New York is those Jews like Mayor Bloomberg and Joe Klein trying to trick 95 percent majority Christians into converting to Judaism.  Bill, get a life.  This is absolutely ludi -- I understand we have to have an interesting topic to talk about.

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

GREEN:  Well, one second.  Would you agree that no -- nothing touching religious symbols should be -- so it should be equal.  So...

O'REILLY:  Look...

GREEN:  One second.  The...

O'REILLY:  ... you don't have to believe -- no, no, no, no.  No one second.

GREEN:  Do you agree -- no Menorah, no nativity scene, no Christmas tree?

O'REILLY:  If the federal holiday -- if the federal holiday is repealed, all right, then I'll say fine.  It's the federal holiday of Christmas based on the birth of Christ.  You can't show that birth.  That's insane.

And you know what really bothers me about this?

GREEN:  What, Bill?

O'REILLY:  The Menorah is up.  The crescent and star is up.  And the nativity scene can be up because you can admire Jesus the philosopher without believing that he's God as millions of Americans do.  It's insulting.

I'll give you the last word.

GREEN:  Kids in school can pray.  Kids in school can pray silently.  They can pray any time they want.  Except during classroom hours, they're supposed to learn history.  You want to practice your religion, do it on your time in your own church, synagogue, or mosque.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Difference between a philosopher and a religious person.

GREEN:  The ayatollahs of the Republican Party support your point of view...

O'REILLY:  Oh, come on.  He'll lose...

GREEN:  ... and I support the Bill of Rights.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Mr. Green, thanks very much.

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