In a quite good interview in The Post conducted by Sally Quinn, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly explores his Catholic faith, its roots and its consequences. The discussion springs from O’Reilly’s book “Killing Jesus,” the third in his “Killing” trilogy (Lincoln and JFK being the subjects of the other two). Last September, O’Reilly told CBS News’s Norah O’Donnell about the provenance of the book: “All of the ideas come to me in the middle of the night, and one night, I just woke up and I went, ‘Killing Jesus.’ And I believe because I’m a Catholic that comes from the Holy Spirit. My inspiration comes from that…so I wrote ‘Killing Jesus’ because I think I was directed to write that.”
Quinn noted that O’Reilly was “derided” for those comments, so she asked for a deeper explanation. O’Reilly obliged, saying in part, “When I was honest with ‘60 Minutes,’ I said, ‘Listen, I’m an ordinary guy.’ I don’t consider myself to be extraordinary. I have ideas that come to me. And as a Christian, I believe those ideas, when they’re positive, come from the person who created me. And the person who created me is God, and in Christian theology, God is made up of three elements. So of course it would be the Holy Spirit. It’s all logical.”
From there, Quinn jumped right into O’Reilly’s comfort zone, asking why non-believers sneer at believers. The King of Cable News saw a nice opening to hammer another controversial television figure: “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.”
For his part, Maher recently described himself in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper as a “atheist pot smoker.” So he might not quibble with that characterization.
On other topics, O’Reilly told Quinn he does “standard” prayers; that O’Reilly haters “have no idea what I do” and don’t read his books; that his show hasn’t
“had to retract or apologize to anybody other than one time we took something off a Web site that was incomplete” (The Erik Wemple Blog may have to fact-check that one); and that his nonstop work schedule has him tired. “I’ve got to cut it back soon. I just don’t know when that will be,” he says.
A prediction: It won’t be until his ratings take a prolonged nose-dive.