Bill O'Reilly proclaimed St. Patrick's Day a "secular celebration" just one month after he declared that allowing the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization to march in St. Patrick's Day parade would be comparable to "walk[ing] into a church ... with 'I'm Queer' on your shirt."
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Fox News host Bill O'Reilly proclaimed St. Patrick's Day a "secular celebration," just one month after he declared that allowing the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) to march in Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day parade would be comparable to "walk[ing] into a church ... with 'I'm Queer' on your shirt."
Responding to a viewer's email during the April 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed that the reason "anti-religious folks" don't "object" to St. Patrick's Day is "[b]ecause St. Patrick's Day ... is a secular celebration" and "[t]he anti-religious folks only object to spirituality in the public square."
Yet, as Media Matters for America has noted, O'Reilly previously invoked the religious aspect of St. Patrick's Day during the March 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor to claim it was "inappropriate" for the ILGO to participate in Manhattan's St. Patrick's Day celebration. At the time, O'Reilly insisted that the ILGO's presence in the St. Patrick's Day parade would be "inappropriate" because it is "a parade honoring a saint" that "has nothing to do" with sexuality. He even added that the ILGO's participation in the event would be equivalent to "walk[ing] into the church in the baptism with 'I'm Queer' on your shirt. It's inappropriate. It's a sacrament."
From the April 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Rich Shuman, Killeen, Texas: "Bill, I'm confused. Why do those who attack religious holidays like Christmas and Easter fail to protest St. Patrick's Day?" Because St. Patrick's Day, Mr. Shuman, is a secular celebration. The anti-religious folks only object to spirituality in the public square.
From the March 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Lillian Glass:
O'REILLY: In the "Impact" segment tonight, once again this year, a gay person, New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn, wanted to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade under a banner proclaiming her sexuality. And once again, she was denied because the parade honors a saint and the Irish heritage and has nothing to do with anybody's sexuality. Such a display is deemed to be inappropriate.
The question is, why doesn't Ms. Quinn and others who support her wise up? Why don't they understand that?
O'REILLY: Well, they can come out on the Gay Day Parade or the Halloween Parade. They have plenty of opportunities to do that. This is a saint. Don't you feel that that is inappropriate?
GLASS: Well, when you put it that way, I can see your point of view, absolutely.
O'REILLY: Well, I'm glad you can, because I'm getting nervous. If you -- if Christine Quinn, who's Irish, and I like Christine Quinn, if she goes to a baptism, doctor, if one of her nieces or nephews are baptized, a baby, you don't walk into the church in the baptism with "I'm Queer" on your shirt. It's inappropriate. It's a sacrament.
GLASS: That's absolutely correct.
O'REILLY: It's a church.
GLASS: I agree with you. Absolutely.
O'REILLY: This is a parade honoring a saint. It has nothing to do --
GLASS: You know, when -- Bill, when you put it that way, it makes so much sense, and I agree with you totally. But do a lot of people think that it's a holiday for a saint? I think most people think it's just a way to get out, to party, to express themselves --
O'REILLY: What's the name of the parade, doctor?
GLASS: -- to get drunk.
O'REILLY: Doctor, what's the name of the parade?
GLASS: St. Patrick's Day.
O'REILLY: OK, you know, if you're not getting what the parade is honoring, I can't help you.