Bill O’Reilly: ‘Do the Atheists in Wisconsin Realize They’re Going To Hell?’

FOX News Channel pundit Bill O’Reilly is super good at refusing to look reality in its beady little eyes.  We all know about his famous misunderstanding of how tides work, as it resulted in some delightful memes.  The man has become a caricature of a caricature of himself.

And I’m sorry to break any readers’ hearts around here, but he isn’t exactly the biggest fan of us atheists.

I know, Dave Silverman, that was my face too!

As we enter into the holiday season, we also enter into our yearly “War on Christmas” (a.k.a. The Reasonable Request By Non-Christians That There Is No Endorsement of Religion In The Public Square).  And there is no one who loves to get more up in arms over this than the folks at FOX.

Here’s the latest:

[Note: It was a special kind of challenge to transcribe this entire clip because O'Reilly kept talking over the other two women in the studio, making for both an annoying report and a difficult time getting the transcript down]

Lis Wiehl: In Elwood City [PA] they have this nativity scene for years –

Correspondent#2: 50!

LW: Right, and a group out of Madison, Wisconsin last year–

Bill O’Reilly: 50!  And where is it, Wiehl?

LW: Now it’s not going to be there in front of the municipal building.

BO: Okay, 50 years, Elwood City, little nativity scene, in front of the municipal building which is the local…

LW: Local city council building, right.

BO: So, Wisconsin atheist group does what?

R2: They get upset, file a lawsuit saying–

BO: Against Elwood City!

R2: Against the borough–

BO: Far away from Wisconsin!

R2: It’s a little bit of a trek, you’re not going to get there on your bike.  And they say “This is inappropriate, it shouldn’t be on public property.” However we spoke with a gentleman today who is representing the group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation–

BO: The atheists!

R2: Right.  He said “I’m not opposed to anything on private property, they’ve moved it to the church–

BO: So Elwood City already caved–

LW: They didn’t want the lawsuit!  They figured they’d lose the lawsuit.

BO: They’ve moved it from the municipal building where it’s been for 50 years to a church?  So the atheists won!

R2: They prevailed.

BO: But there is no War on Christmas, ladies and gentlemen.  Remember Jon Stewart? [Makes duckface. I guess it's what he thinks Stewart looks like?  I don't know.]  Remember Stewart said that?

R2:  Yeah it’s tough to be a nativity scene these days.

BO: But little Elwood City, 50 years, people are going, they’re looking for it, they’ll have to have little maps.  Final question, and either of you can…Do the atheists in Wisconsin realize they are going to hell?  It’s the Christmas season; maybe we don’t bring that up until January.  We know Stewart’s going to hell.  Just kidding, man! I’m just giving him material!


First of all, what’s that line? “Threatening an atheist that he’s going to hell is like threatening to kick an atheist in the aura”?  Yeah, real scary, O’Reilly.  I’m quaking in my Chucks over here.

Besides that… I mean we’ve said it all before, right?  The reason we need to file these lawsuits to get cities to take down their crosses and nativity scenes and 10 Commandments’ thingies is because they will inevitably argue that “It’s been up for 5, 10, 50, 100 years!  What’s the problem now?!”

To me, it seems that the harrowing tale they told was completely appropriate.  A nativity scene was up where it shouldn’t have been, they got a call from FFRF, they moved it to a church (its natural habitat), and that’s that.

Once again, I am left baffled by what all of the fuss is about.  I feel like the only people who are going to miss it at the municipal building are probably going to see it anyway when they go to church on Sundays, right?

Only seven more weeks ’til Christmas, guys, so prepare yourself for all of the War on Christmas stories to come!  If anyone wants to set up a War on Christmas bingo game, I would be totally be cool with that.

(Via The Good Atheist)

About Jessica Bluemke

Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.

  • C Peterson

    If heaven is defined as the place that people like Bill O’Reilly are headed for, what sensible person wouldn’t be doing everything possible to make sure they end up in hell?

    Seriously, listening to O’Reilly for five minutes feels like eternity… what would an actual eternity be like?

  • Aguz

    “I’m just giving him material”
    For once, he is right. 


    Bill O’Reilly may have a masters degree but he also has the kind of ignorance education can’t fix.   O’Reilly is an arrogant, condescending, thug.

  • Houndentenor

    As if, according to Christianity, a sexual harrassing liar like O’Reilly would be getting into that heaven?  Please.  He’s just found a topic that appeals to his audience.  There’s no harm to anyone by putting the nativity scene on church property instead of city property.  It’s where that kind of display belongs anyway.  But no, O’Reilly just wants to demagogue on this for all it’s worth.

  • Patterrssonn

    Why do they call it Hell if Bill O’Reilly isn’t there.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yup. If he sincerely asks Jesus to forgive him, then God completely forgets he ever committed any sin. That’s what the bible says. So he’ll be in heaven.

    Personally, I’ve already decided that I’d rather be in hell anyway. the christian god shows no concept of love or justice, and I can’t worship that. 

  • DougI

    Silly rabbit, hell is for scaring kids.

  • John Purcell

    Actually, I thought the clip was kind of funny. You could see that O’Reilly knew his quip about going to hell was tongue in cheek, and was directed at Stewart and his followers. I didn’t take it seriously.  

    And lest you think I’m some kind of O’Reilly fan, I’m not. He is clearly wrong on the substance here. His repeated emphasis on the fact that the creche has been there for 50 years is just misguided. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been there. The first year it was in violation of the Constitution, along with the other 49 years.

    “Hey! He’s been beating his wife for 50 years. Give him a break! No one complained before, so why now?”

  • Holytape

    To all the atheist in Wisconsin.   Milk goes in and cheese comes out!  Can’t explain that.  Or you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and it’s the same going in as coming out.  Can’t explain that!   

    (P.S.  O’Reilly’s geography needs a bit of work.  Hell’s in Michigan, not Wisconsin.)

  • SecularPatriot

    It’s amazing how Fox News thinks it is in their best interest to threaten 30% of those under 30, or as the ad folks in the entertainment industry like to call the under 30 crowd: the prime demographic.

  • Tainda

    I’ll bring the ice water!

  • observer

    Between O’Reilly acting like moving the nativity scene to a church where it should be anyway is some sort of defeat, and the judge “sentencing” the drunk teen to church a couple posts back, I’m starting to wonder if Right Wingers are subtly admitting that church isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • julie

    There is no %#$!&* war on Christmas!! I celebrate Christmas! Who else here is an atheist and still celebrates Christmas?
    It’s just not alright to endorse one religion over another. That is all.

  • Judith Bandsma

    Ellwood City doesn’t have the money to buy McDonald’s for the council member banquet, let alone fight a lawsuit. They did the right thing. We’re talking about a seriously depressed area here.

  • Grooney315

    Fifty years of wrong don’t make a right.

  • Cassandrabruce

    Do the atheists realize they’re on Santa’s naughty list?!?!

  • jediofpool

    My fear of going to hell is perfectly equal to my fear of going to Azkaban Prison. 

  • Glasofruix

    I don’t get it, why the fuck do people accept to participate in a BillO’s show? He just keeps cutting and talking over them, the only person i ever saw to make him STFU was Jon Stewart.

  • advancedatheist

    But the atheists who go to hell will finally realize that their lives have meaning & purpose as part of god’s plan. That doesn’t make it sound so bad.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod


    …that word “realize”…

    …it has the word “real” in it….

    The only thing anyone needs to “realize” about hell is that it is a fairy tale.

    You do realize there’s no unicorns, right?

  • Octoberfurst

     When I came out as an atheist this past year my Christian friends said, “I guess you won’t be celebrating Christmas now huh?” No, I will still be celebrating Christmas because it is both a secular and religious holiday. I love decorating a Christmas tree with all the lights and tinsel. Heck I’ll even sing a few carols while drinking some eggnog with my friends. But that doesn’t mean I believe in the baby Jesus.   :-)  

  • Medea Ginger Hertz

    Eternity: take two mountains a couple thousand miles away, take one bird traveling back and forth to the mountains. Every time the bird gets to a mountain it pecks it. When the mountains are gone=one day in eternity.

    That’s what I was told when I was catholic.

  • SeekerLancer

    But the Nativity scene is STILL UP and where it belongs… so their only real complaint is that they’re not allowing them to shove it in our face illegally. So to answer Bill’s question, no there isn’t a war on Christmas anywhere but in his head. Come on, isn’t this getting old? Can’t they come up with something new to complain about every year?

    And the whole “50 years” argument is just ridiculous. So if we come across a community of child molesters that have been practicing their crime for 50 years it should be okay and we should let them do it.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Telling an atheist they’re going to hell is like telling an adult that Santa isn’t bringing any presents this year.

  • John Evans

    “Who wouldn’t celebrate the return to longer days? 3-4 days after the shortest day of the year, and you’re sure the sun is coming back. Do you know a culture that doesn’t celebrate this?” Put them on par with the pagans, watch them flip their shit. :D

  • Zeggman

     Poor Aussies, forced to celebrate the return to longer nights.

  • walkamungus

    Yes! I am an atheist! I will celebrate Christmas! I will put the little plastic glitter-y nativity scene, the one my parents bought for 49 cents my first Christmas, under my tree because it’s MY tree and MY nativity scene, dammit! (That it still *has* glitter after 46 years is a testament to careful storage.) I will send cards that say “Merry Christmas”! I will sing carols, I will give gifts, I will read “A Christmas Carol” and “Santa Mouse” and “The Secret of the Star” and “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by the light of my tree! I will decorate said tree with lights, tinsel, shiny glass ornaments, and more handmade Santas, mice, wreaths, birds, dogs, cats, drummer boys, sleds and related fluff than you can shake a stick at! When people in stores wish me either Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, I will reply, “Same to you!” I will have all kinds of holiday music on my iPod! (Faves: Bing Crosby, the Chieftains’ ‘The Bells of Dublin’ and L’Ensemble Choral Du Bout Du Mond’s ‘Noels Celtiques.’ Oh, and Loreena McKennitt’s ‘To Drive the Cold Winter Away’ which has a seriously militant carol called ‘The King.’) I will take pictures of the dogs wearing reindeer antlers! I will put out cookies for Santa! (They’re always still there in the morning, unfortunately.) I will do all this because it’s MY HOLIDAY TOO and the Christians can’t have it!

  • Baal

     I and my one sister who identifies as atheist also celebrate Christmas.  We don’t pray and pretend that jesus had anything to do with it, however.  Also, living in the U.S., our children (by respective spouses) would feel a bit out of place if they didn’t get stuff to share and tell their friends about. 

  • Taxihorn

    Begin the War on War-on-Christmas stories! At dawn, we rise!

  • pagansister

    Hell would be being forced  to listen to O’Reilly—and fortunately there other choices and an OFF switch.   

  • Antinomian

    I’m with you BR, ‘ I’drather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints’.

  • Quintinva

    Well I guess he’s paying their vacation.

  • Tainda

    I totally agree!  

    I celebrate Festivus more though lol

  • Patterrssonn

    Merry solstice just doesn’t have the same ring to it

  • Pisk_A_Dausen

    In Norway, even the Christians wish you a happy Yule(tide). :)

  • C Peterson

    My wife and I celebrate solstice in our house, and invite a few friends each year to a solstice dinner. We also celebrate (a very secular) Christmas with other friends, and with some of our family. It’s just one big extended holiday season for us! And we don’t care in the least if somebody says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, or whatever they want. Nor do we boycott anybody for their choice of greeting- I can’t think of anything that would be further from the spirit of the season, no matter which holiday you celebrate.

  • Gary B

     Scarring too.

  • Glasofruix

    My family doesn’t celebrate christmas, we’re russians so we prefer the new year celebration. Although, according to orthodox tradition christmas is in january, in other words another pretext to throw a party and drink.

  • John

     The sinners are much more fun…

  • Marco Conti

    While not exactly a tit for tat, I will be doing the very same thing (I don’t have a nativity heirloom but I’d put it up if I did) and I will celebrate Christmas as well. Not because of the baby jesus or because I am afraid of going to hell but because it is what I have known since I was a little boy and it is a magical time. 

    I have been an atheist since I was 9. That’s when I decided that the whole baby jesus, nativity and all the rest were nice mythologies and nothing more. yet I continued to visit the beautiful nativity scenes in churches in my city of birth, Rome.

    The matter of the nativity scene is that it has no place in a municipal building. Even if it was there for 2000 years.

    Also, one wonders what the good folks in this little town did before they placed the nativity there. Did they all go to hell until the nativity was dysplayed there?

  • Marco Conti

    That’s some hardy bird.

  • Edmond

    No, Bill, the atheists didn’t win.  LEGALITY won.  Lawbreakers lost.

  • wmdkitty

    No, but three lefts certainly do…

  • Gus Snarp

    It all makes sense when you realize that his audience is a bunch of elderly people who’s only other source of entertainment is shouting, “Get off my lawn!” at the neighbor kids and hating people who are different from them.

    Seriously, I don’t think Bill’O’s so stupid that he doesn’t realize exactly what he’s doing. He knows there’s no war on Christmas, he knows that moving the nativity to a church isn’t a burden on anybody, but he also knows that his prime demographic is old white men who are looking for reasons to justify their anger at those damn kids.

  • SketchSepahi

    Also on the Faroe Islands except instead of ‘Yule’ we say ‘Jól.’ Still the same word though. I love it when English speaking Christians ask me why I think it’s called CHRISTmas. My answer: it’s not. It’s called Yule. :P

  • rlrose63

    It’s interesting to me that he treats his coworkers, the people who are selling the same brand of crazy that he is, just like he treats the guests on his show… constantly interrupting, never letting them get out an entire sentence, contradicting them, shaming them, etc.  I would never want to share a space with that man, ever.  Even if we were the last 2 people on earth, I’d go crazy talking to myself before I’d ever seek him out.

  • rlrose63

    We gave up celebrating Christmas many years ago, just still did everything that goes with it.  About 4 years ago, we started calling it a Solstice Celebration just so we could have a word for our celebration just like they do and this way, it’s a science-based celebration as well.  If I know someone is a Christian, like my firends, etc., I will say Merry Christmas.  If I don’t know, I’ll say Happy Holidays.  But if I’m at one of the obnoxious stores on the Liberty Council’s Nice List (which is rare, if ever), I will make a point to beat them to the punch and say HAPPY SOLSTICE as loud as I can.

  • rlrose63

    Eh… that’s the same thing as saying I’m going to hell… neither exist, so it’s a wash.

  • Anna

    Christmas is my favorite holiday! There’s no reason atheists can’t celebrate it. No one demands that people believe in Cupid to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or ghosts and goblins to celebrate Halloween. Why should atheists need to believe in Jesus to have Christmas? Heck, growing up, even my next-door neighbors (a Sikh/Buddhist couple) celebrated Christmas. Holidays are what you make them, and you can certainly enjoy the secular aspects while viewing the religious ones as a myth.

  • Anna

    I’d actually be surprised if O’Reilly believes the majority of what he says! I think he’s just a blowhard who is (mostly) in it for the ratings. I doubt he’s a “true believer” in the way that members of the religious right are.

  • kaydenpat

    To millions of people Bill O is highly entertaining, so he needs to vamp it up for the cameras.  He’s smarter than Beck who went so far that he had to be kicked off Fox News.  I’m sure Bill knows that atheists don’t believe in hell anymore than he believes in Narnia.

  • Matthew Mcgrath

    Yes that is my main gripe about Christmas as a Southern Hemisphereian

  • Pisk_A_Dausen

    If I were an Australian, I’d celebrate the return to non-lethal temperatures. I spent Christmas in Australia once. I had been told that everything there would try to kill me, but no one had specifically mentioned the sun. <.<

  • Michaelbrice

    I used to live in Ottawa (Canada) in the 70′s, in winter 30 – 40 below temperatures used to be common. 

    One of the team mates on my rugby team was an Aussie, at christmas he would regale me with stories of xmas morning in Oz, which apparently involved sitting on your porch in your flip flops and shorts drinking Foster’s under the sun. 

    I always thought that you ‘southern hemispherians’ had it better at xmas.p.s. he also told me that santa’s sleigh is pulled by kangaroos in Oz, can anyone verify?

  • Marella
  • A3Kr0n

    In other fun Wisconsin news: Governor Scott (scooter) Walker says he isn’t ready to implement the new healthcare law because:
    a) “I didn’t think it would hold up in court” (it did)
    b) “I didn’t think the Democrat was going to win” (he did)

  • Dietrich

    Australia inspired the best christmas song ever:

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’d rather go to hell than Azkaban. Dementors freak me the Fuck out!

  • Sue Blue

    Awwww, us atheists are gonna get lumps of coal in our Christmas stockings for not believing in Christian Santa Claus.  Boo-friggety-hoo!  I’m sure we’re all just devastated by Bill-O’s pronouncements and prognostications.

  • Rebecca J Anderson

    Bill O’Reilly’s head “Facts go in, bullshit comes out.  You can’t explain that!

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    You should fear going to hell. It doesn’t look like much of a town. 

  • Robster

    I was planning on putting my saviour on a stick figure out the front. Oops, I’m told it should be the baby jesus, magic mary and his useless dad, not the dead bloke. Learned that just in time.

  • Robster

    And not a word about the baby jesus! Go Rolf.

  • Tim Brown

    This whole War on Christmas, War on Women,  War on anything that isn’t actually war is just a bullshit, pandering, narrative that dishonors people who actually sacrificed for our country.

  • Russian Alex

    It’s Bill O’Reilly. That’s just what he does.

  • Greisha

     Whoever told it to you was really bad in math.  I assume that eternity is infinite time span.

  • Paul Paulus

    I prefer a War on Xmas drinking game to bingo.

    Also, why is it that superstitious people whine about not being able to break the law?

  • wmdkitty

    Fuck if I know. Most people I know, when it comes to breaking the law, just DO it, instead of sitting around crying into our bongs about how unfair it is.

  • TheBlackCat

    Isn’t it too early for the War on Christmas? It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet.

  • wmdkitty

    Haven’t you heard? Corporate decided to turn into one big clusterfuck of a holiday, calling it “HallowThanksMas”.


    No, dude, I hear ya — I was seeing Christmas stuff out on shelves BEFORE HALLOWEEN.

  • Ned Ludd

    The only two non-conservatives I have seen BillO treat relatively respectively were Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher. He seemed a bit in awe and to realize that he was on the losing end and didn’t dare to interrupt them constantly.

  • C Peterson

    That’s what eternity is. But the description is intended only as a visualization tool, and doesn’t betray any math errors, since all of that erosion is said to happen in one day of eternity, not all of eternity. Time is still open-ended in the example.

  • Richard Smith

    Does Bill O’Reilly realize, THERE IS NO HELL!!!

  • RickRay

    I think Scientists/atheists etc. should go do  lectures on the cosmos/evolution/reality in churches.  The xians will get so sick of it they’ll think more about keeping their religion off public streets and keep their myths and tales in their churches.  

  • Sheila Ack

    Can I steal that?

  • jediofpool

    Absolutely ;)