We’ve had the adverts, and the discussion, in the UK. The campaign by Atheist groups telling that “there probably isn’t a God” has now moved across the north Atlantic and an advert describing Judaism, Christianity and Islam as “all scams” has clearly touched a nerve, especially among hosts at our old friends Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
Religiosity is not something that Stateside slebs and news anchors hide away: several presenters at Fox are proud to tell viewers of their calling. The increasingly wayward Glenn Beck is a member of the Church Of Latter-Day Saints. Professional loudmouth Sean Hannity is a practicing Catholic, although he was famously tripped up in mid-interview by Michael Moore, who asked him the subject of the previous Sunday’s sermon, and Hannity didn’t know.
And then there is Bill O’Reilly. Bill-O is also a Catholic, as well as being Fox’ top rating host by some distance. On Wednesday, his guests included American Atheist Group president Dave Silverman. And, with a straight face, O’Reilly delivered his clinching argument against Silverman: the tide coming in and going out proved that God was present. Established science, for Bill-O, did not enter.
This was not an attempt at satire. Fortunately for O’Reilly, there won’t be another Daily Show until next week, but the subject has already been raised on a Comedy Central discussion thread.
[UPDATE: Stephen Colbert featured this exchange on the latest Colbert Report, with the unforgettable payoff line "like all great theologies, Bill's can be boiled down to one sentence: There must be a God, because I don't know how things work"]
I love Daniel Silverman's face when O'Reilly trotted out the "tide goes in/tide goes out" comment.
It's almost as if his brain shut down for a moment to take it all in.
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