Bill O’Reilly complained that he was a victim of religious discrimination because the “Killing Jesus” television movie, based on his book by the same name, received bad reviews from publications that he considers liberal.
“The truth is, it is open season on Christians in America, and faith is not held in high esteem in the halls of Manhattan media operations,” O’Reilly said.
The Fox News host suggested Monday night on his “O’Reilly Factor” program that critics should weigh his intentions in writing the book above its artistic merits, adherence to historical fact, and skillful use of dramatic elements.
“A movie like ‘Killing Jesus’ is a noble endeavor, even if you didn’t like it – even though some conservative folks didn’t like it, either,” O’Reilly said, promising to read negative comments from conservatives. “But to see what actually happened to a good man, Jesus, who preached loving your neighbor and loving God above all, to see how he was abused and murdered historically, right before your eyes, is a powerful use of the motion picture concept.”
He read an excerpt from a Guardian review that faulted the TV movie for promoting “O’Reilly’s patented conservative slant” on a historical event and “presenting salacious detail about Christ’s death and a Tea Party version of the son of God.”
A Boston Globe review cited by O’Reilly trashed “’Killing Jesus’ (as) a shallow telling of the Jesus story, with no more distinction than you might find in the generic reenactments of some historical documentary.”
O’Reilly allowed that critics had a right to disagree on the movie’s merits, but he dismissed negative reviews as “designed to promote ideology above all.”
He complained that religious conservatives were mocked for stating their views on same-sex marriage and other social issues.
“There is a struggle in this country for power, for freedom, and for life-affirming behavior,” O’Reilly said. “Judeo-Christian tradition is under assault – there’s no question about that.”
He said Christians are “murdered and abused” in some countries overseas, and he compared that oppression to the negative commentary some American Christians face when they venture into politics and media.
“Here in America we often see Christians marginalized, mocked, (and) portrayed as bigots and human-rights abusers,” O’Reilly said. “It’s time to push back on that. ‘Killing Jesus’ may have opened some eyes in that arena, and the left doesn’t like that at all.”
Watch the Fox News segment posted online by Media Matters: