Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recently sat down with Washington Post faith correspondent Sally Quinn to discuss his Catholic upbringing, his book “Killing Jesus,” and his haters – comparing himself to “the most hated man in Judea 2,000 years ago.”
Addressing O’Reilly’s book – part of a series that includes “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy” – Quinn expressed surprise that the book was not necessarily a religious book, but “more like a history book.” She alluded to a much derided interview the author gave on ’60 Minutes’ where he said that he had been driven by the Holy Spirit to write the book.
O’Reilly attributed the criticism to the “secular-progressive movement,” saying, “it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously. They’re so condescending and they’re so arrogant that, even though you might be a brilliant person, if you believe, you’re an idiot. So that just knocks out the whole Jesuit organization. It knocks out Thomas Aquinas, Augustine.”
Quinn addressed the book’s dedication to those people who love their neighbors as themselves, asking O’Reilly if his haters might be surprised by the sentiment.
“They’ll never read it, though. The O’Reilly haters are pretty much the people that have no idea what I do,” O’Reilly replied. “And I like that — I mean, I don’t have any problem with people disliking me, and I’ll tell you why. I’m not comparing myself, but who was the most hated person in Judea 2,000 years ago?”
Asked about people who sneer at religion in America, O’Reilly cited television comedian and noted atheist Bill Maher, saying, “Take a guy like Bill Maher. He’s probably the most visible atheist in the American media. Well, Bill Maher does not want to be told what to do. He wants to do whatever he wants. And if it’s take drugs, he wants to be able to do that. If it’s commit adultery, he wants to be able to do that. Whatever it may be, he doesn’t want anybody telling him not to. And the people that would do that would be religious people, so he strikes out against them.”
Without directly addressing his well publicized legal troubles in a sexual harassment suit with a former Fox producer, O’Reilly conceded that he is “the biggest sinner of all.”
“I’m a volatile guy. I’m not a holy-roller. I’m not a malicious guy, but I’m like everybody else. I’m fallible. I’m not going to tell you, Sally Quinn, what my sins are. But I’m certainly fallible and I don’t put myself up as any paragon of virtue.”