“Wilfully ignorant, borderline heretical, self justification”

This is how Stephen Colbert describes Bill O’Reilly in an incredibly good skewering of the pop-Calvinist and smug materialist version of Christianity that dominates the American right. Remember, we have had these sanctimonious would-be Christians like Jim Demint and John Kyle complain about having to work over Christmas as “sacrilegious” and “disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians”. I’ll tell you what’s sacrilegious and disrespectful- putting the economic interests of the rich over the poor. Refusing to extend unemployment benefits during a time of great need. Refusing the endorse the START treaty while celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. Giving the finger to the kids who would benefit from the DREAM Act.

The sanctimonious hypocrisy of these people knows no bounds. They have no shame whatsoever. Over to you, Mr. Colbert:

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  • smf

    Someone is apparently being willifully ignorant of the full depth of Colbert.

    Did Bill Oriely get a skewering? Yes, and probably deserved it, too.

    However, if you missed that he was also poking fun at the idea of Jesus being a liberal democrat, then you are clearly seeing only one side of the coin.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t unemployment benefits just get extended for another 13 months? I thought I read that in the local paper…

    As to the START treaty, arms control does not equal peace. It can be either a prudent move towards peace or a reckless move that endangers it. The fact that the pro-Start folks refuse to even acknowledge some of its weak points and won’t disucss the negotiating record until after it is ratified (and thus nothing can be done about it) indicates very strongly that the thing has not been fully examined. The lack of inclusion of Russia’s mobile ICBMs is a very serious hole in the treaty as is the Russian understanding of what it says regarding missile defense. Then there is the whole tactical weapons problem, which has always been the most likely source of loose nukes and is the most likely way of starting a nuclear war that would then escalate. Plus there are serious questions about the viablity of the verification and compliance system of this treaty. All of these issues must at least be given a full hearing before a vote, whereas currently the pro-Start folks have refused to admit there are even any credible criticisms.

    Finally, there is no rush to get these thing done before Christmas. Unless you are pushing a partisan agenda. Then there is.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      The unemployment benefit extension only passed because the GOP got what it wanted, and for which it was willing to sacrifice everything else – tax cuts for the top 1 percent of income earners.

      Arms control does not equal peace? You are aware, I suppose, that the Church teaches that the holding of nuclear weapons is only morally justified as part of a disarmament strategy? And as the USCCB notes, by reducing nuclear arsenals in both countries by 30 percent, the START Treaty is “a modest step toward a world with greater respect for human life”. It is a core pro-life issue. Let’s not kid ourselves. Many of those who oppose START do so because they value nuclear weapons.

    • http://kvorn@aol.com Kurt

      currently the pro-Start folks have refused to admit there are even any credible criticisms.

      I’m sorry you have that view of the Catholic Bishops.

    • brettsalkeld

      One of my favorite Colbert moments is when someone was comparing the skin cells that flake off your arm to embryos. Stephen acted amazed to find out that, with proper care, such skin cells grow up into individual human persons. I was losing it, but the audience was at a total loss.

  • http://www.rrrrodak.blogspot.com Rodak

    Is Bill O’Reilly a “pop Calvinist” despite being a Roman Catholic?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Morning’s Minion

      From the article Colbert quoted, it would appear so. That’s nothing unusual with American Catholics brainwashed by the dominant Protestant culture, and tinged anyway with Irish Jansenism.

    • sean

      Bill O’Reilly was raised Catholic but is now a practicing Jag.

  • Liam

    People don’t seem to realize that it was long customary for Congress to convene in early December of each even-numbered year and work through until the following March. Even the Congresses of the 1790s met in daily sessions all the way up through 12/24 and picked right back up on 12/26 unless it was a Sunday.

    They must have been Godless Socialists.

    • Thales


      After I read your comment, I saw this interesting article about the 20th Amendment, which was intended to eliminate the lame-duck session.

      • Thales

        By the way, my comment is not intended to comment on the merits of the current happenings in Congress or Minion’s post. I just thought it was interesting, something I didn’t know.

  • Vermont Crank

    Of course Christmas in America has become commercialised – once it was allowed to be celebrated (The “Pure” Calvinist Christians made it illegal here back in the day).

    In any event, I find it amusing that Colbert, who makes millions of dollars producing not one thing, assails O’Reilly, who produces not one thing, when it is the case that both of them profit wildly from the American system of Capitalism which is not but legalised theft.

    It’s all a game to them, and Rush, and Beck, and Hannity, and Olbermann, and Maddow and on and on

    And of COURSE politicians politicise everything. It is what they do

  • Vermont Crank

    “Giving the finger to the kids who would benefit from the DREAM Act”

    Um, didn’t these kids receive 8-12 years of schooling for free in America?

    Are THEY ever asked to speak one word of gratitude before they demand more?

  • http://www.religiousleftlaw.com David Nickol

    Um, didn’t these kids receive 8-12 years of schooling for free in America?


    Only if nobody in the family paid taxes.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    With regards to gratitude, in proffer an excerpt from Oliver Twist:

    “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

    ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’

    The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

    ‘What!’ said the master at length, in a faint voice.

    ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’

    The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

    The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,

    ‘Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!’

    There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance.

    ‘For more!’ said Mr. Limbkins. ‘Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?’

    ‘He did, sir,’ replied Bumble.

    ‘That boy will be hung,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ‘I know that boy will be hung.'”

  • Vermont Crank

    Clement Dio could not have thought of a better non sequitur

  • Ronald King

    Colbert provides sanity to O’Reilly’s insanity.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Well Vermont, I guess I was too subtle.

    What makes you think they are not grateful? Should they come to your door, hat in hand, tugging at their forelocks and ever so humble? (Again, with apologies to Charles Dickens.) Building on what David Nickol said: they have lived here their entire lives and (as far as they knew) played by the rules. They want to get an education or serve in the military to better themselves. I will take that as my thank you, though I really don’t think any thanks (over and beyond what each of us owe God) is necessary.

  • Vermont Crank
  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    Well, if the web site you sent me to was supposed to be proof to the contrary, I was not convinced. Hysteria, fear-mongering and xenophobia only make me very sad, and a little bit angry.

    As for playing by the rules, my father did: his immigration status was not regularized until he had been in the country for 2-3 years, but he got a job, payed his taxes and was an established and respectable member of the community. My wife’s grandfather, who was Ukrainian, was also in the U.S. illegally. He just kept his head down and tried his best to support his wife and kids.

    Sure, there are illegal immigrants who commit crimes, but the vast majority of them are here to work. Most of them work in crappy, low wage jobs that no one else would do. They pack our meat, clean our office buildings and hotel rooms, take care of our kids and mow our lawns. My niece works in a trailer park in the Midwest that gets lots of Mexicans of unknown immigration status. She and her employers vastly prefer them to American tenants: they pay their rent, keep their lots clean and stay out of trouble.

    Cardinal Mahoney and Archbishop Gomez of LA said it well in a recent statement:

    “The young men and women who will benefit from the passage of the DREAM Act have not intentionally broken any laws. They were brought here by others when they were minors. The only country they know and love is the United States. Their only interest is in becoming a vital part of our great nation and to help improve our country over the coming years.
    Thousands of young men and women have truly earned their way towards legal residency in the United States, and they stand as beacons of hope and of greatness for our country. Their only goal is to give, to contribute, to the betterment of our communities and our society. They are not here “to take” but “to give” to our country.”

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova Kyle Cupp

    Loved this remark of Colbert’s:

    “It’s time to take the Christ out of Christmas…because if this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

    • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

      I really have a problem with this notion that opposing certain legislature is akin to declaring that one doesn’t love the poor or serve the needy.

      I am inclined to agree that it would be stretching charity to its breaking point to assume that those opposed the these laws do so because they don’t think it’s the most effective way to serve the poor.

      Nevertheless, I think that when we are judged, it will be more about how we responded to those who were in front of us in our daily lives than what legislation we supported.

  • http://www.rrrrodak.blogspot.com Rodak

    “Nevertheless, I think that when we are judged, it will be more about how we responded to those who were in front of us in our daily lives than what legislation we supported.”

    I totally agree with that. I also acknowledge, however, my realization that many, if not most, of the kind of people whose needs are best met by legislation deploying the vast resources and comprehensive reach of goverment, never stand in front of me. In fact, our society is very carefully set up to make it almost certain that this will very rarely happen.

  • Vermont Crank

    “Well, if the web site you sent me to was supposed to be proof to the contrary, I was not convinced. Hysteria, fear-mongering and xenophobia only make me very sad, and a little bit angry.”

    Yep. We call such things “Hate Facts”.”

    Very mean and cruel to collect and publish data.

  • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO

    I would only be swayed if I actually believed that they were facts. As Disraeli said, there are three kinds of untruth: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Various statistics and reports of uncertain provenance, gathered together by an author whose bias (indeed whose xenophobia) is blatant, do not necessarily constitute “facts.” I suppose I could wade through them and try to separate the wheat from the chaff, but its Christmas and I would rather spend time with the family.