On the November 8 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, guest Dan Caplis of 630 KHOW-AM joined host Bill O'Reilly in distorting and ridiculing a city panel's recommendations regarding public holiday displays in Fort Collins. O'Reilly suggested that the task force members "despise Christmas," while Caplis warned that "if you don't stand up and fight for your culture," an "arrogant minority" will "take it away from you."
Appearing as a guest on the November 8 broadcast of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 630 KHOW-AM host Dan Caplis joined host Bill O'Reilly in attacking the recommendations of Fort Collins' "Holiday Display Task Force" -- which O'Reilly repeatedly misnamed the "Holiday Diversity Task Force." O'Reilly uttered his distortions after suggesting that the proposals' authors "despise Christmas" and "want to wipe it out in America." Caplis called the recommendations an "attack on American values," adding that a recommendation for the external decoration of city buildings "sounds like something out of the old Soviet Union." Caplis and O'Reilly's comments are similar to the ones they and others have made in previous years in response to a purported "War on Christmas."
In addition to Caplis, O'Reilly's broadcast included Rebecca Boyle, a reporter for the community newspaper Fort Collins Now.
From the November 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: 'Tis the Season. As you know if you've read my book Culture Warrior, many secular progressives despise Christmas -- want to wipe it out in America. They deny that, of course, but actions speak louder than words. Here's the latest. In Fort Collins, Colorado, the city council will vote on whether to ban colored lights and every other specific symbol of Christmas. A task force has recommended that city buildings only be decorated with white lights and things like snowflakes and penguins. Any specific Christmas decoration is deemed to be dangerous to our, quote, commonality, unquote.
Although the task force does propose barring colored lights from the exterior of city buildings, the recommendations do not, contrary to O'Reilly's assertion, "ban colored lights and every other specific symbol of Christmas." In fact, rather than identifying Christmas decorations as being "dangerous to our ... commonality," the task force in its background statement "proposes a holiday display policy that recognizes the variety of celebrations enjoyed by the diverse citizenry of Fort Collins":
Fort Collins has long recognized the celebration of the winter holiday season. For much of the city's history, that recognition has focused on Christmas as the primary religious and cultural holiday celebrated by city residents. As Fort Collins has grown over the year, it has become a dynamic, culturally diverse community. Specifically, Fort Collins is now home to people of many religious and cultural beliefs and traditions; including Christian, Jew, Hindu, Baha'i, Buddhist, Wiccan, atheist and Muslim, among others. City residents celebrate a variety of winter holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Birth of Bah'u'llah, Bhodi Day, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa and more. Recognizing the desire for all citizens to feel valued, welcomed, and included, the Task Force stove to provide a recommendation that could unite all City residents and visitors in the spirit of community celebration.
The Task Force proposes a holiday display policy that recognizes the variety of celebrations enjoyed by the diverse citizenry of Fort Collins. To emphasize the community-wide nature of the holiday season, and to foster education about the diversity of cultural and religious traditions represented in Fort Collins, the Task Force suggests the active participation of the community's museums. The recommendation covers what the Task Force envisions as the primary City holiday display on or around the Fort Collins Museum grounds, as well as the exterior and interior public spaces of all City buildings, and the Oak Street Plaza.
The recommendations specifically include a crèche scene as one of the "[s]ymbols [i]ncorporating [l]ight" that the task force endorsed for inclusion in "the City's primary holiday display" to be located "on or around the grounds around the Fort Collins Museum":
For the City's primary holiday display, the Task Force proposes an annual display on or around the grounds around the Fort Collins Museum. The display, designed and produced by museum staff, should be an educational, multi-cultural presentation that respectfully presents our differences and embraces our commonality. Both religious and non-religious celebrations should be included, with careful thought to broad representation and balance among different traditions.
The Museum Director met with Task Force members and Museum staff have discussed several concepts that meet these objectives. Additional background information is included in Attachment 3, "Symbols Incorporating Light."
The attachment to which the passage above referred features a depiction of a crèche and a description that begins by noting that "Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus. A Nativity scene, or crèche, is a depiction of the birthplace of Jesus."
Later in the program, in response to O'Reilly's request for comment on the task force's recommendations, Caplis characterized them as an "attack on American values" and claimed that "stripping away Christmas trees and colored lights" in many public spaces "sounds like something out of the old Soviet Union." He warned that "if you don't stand up and fight for your culture," an "arrogant minority" will "take it away from you."
From the November 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: 'Tis the Season. As you know if you've read my book Culture Warrior, many secular progressives despise Christmas -- want to wipe it out in America. They deny that, of course, but actions speak louder than words. Here's the latest. In Fort Collins, Colorado, the city council will vote on whether to ban colored lights and every other specific symbol of Christmas. A task force has recommended that city buildings only be decorated with white lights and things like snowflakes and penguins. Any specific Christmas decoration is deemed to be dangerous to our, quote, commonality, unquote. Joining us now from Denver, Dan Caplis, radio talk show host on KHOW, and Rebecca Boyle, a reporter for the Fort Collins Now newspaper. All right, Ms. Boyle, I'll begin with you. The holiday diversity task force: How did it come to this?
BOYLE: Well, it started a couple years ago after a rabbi from one of the Jewish groups in town asked for a menorah to be put up in the town square along with a Christmas tree. And the town said no because they didn't want to open the floodgates to all other manner of symbols for the holidays.
O'REILLY: All right, I'm not getting that now. I'm not getting that now. OK, the town square -- it's a pretty big area, correct, to put these things on?
BOYLE: Yeah, well, yes and no. I mean it's in Old Town, is kind of what people think of as Fort Collins' downtown area.
O'REILLY: Yeah, I've been there.
BOYLE: And it's a lot of shops and bars and, yeah. They've got a big pine tree.
O'REILLY: Yeah. So you get a little Christmas tree here. Get a little menorah there. Maybe a little crèche scene with the baby Jesus, little sheep, maybe a little shepherd. OK? Maybe a little Kwanzaa symbol, whatever that symbol may be. Maybe a little symbol of Wiccanhood, whatever that may be. You put them like here: boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop. Everybody's happy, everybody can celebrate. Right?
BOYLE: Yep. Well, the city didn't want to do that.
BOYLE: Well, they said that -- I'm not really sure. They said that it would open the floodgates to, you know, all of these requests. And so -- the only person that actually, you know, came forward and complained about not being included was the Jewish community. And --
O'REILLY: Yeah, but they should be included. It's Hanukkah season -- why not put a little menorah out there? Now, OK. So the city says, "No, you can't have the menorah," and then they said but we're going to get seven people on the holiday diversity task force. Do they have little uniforms? Do they give them little uniforms they can run around in, like the Ghostbusters?
BOYLE: I don't think so. It's actually 15 people in the community. And it was a bunch of people from the Jewish community, the Christian community.
O'REILLY: And they all got together and they had meetings, and they ate dinner and they charged the city for it and they had doughnuts. I'm sure the city paid for all of that. And then they came up with the recommendation, and this is my favorite, Ms. Boyle: We're going to decorate Fort Collins public buildings with snowflakes. Do they not know they live in Colorado where it snows, like, every other day? You don't need snowflakes; you have real ones. You don't need the decoration. They have real snow in Colorado. See, I like this diversity task force. I think, Caplis, these people are right on it, man. They really have nailed it down here. We need commonality, which means we got to wipe out everything. Go.
BOYLE: Well they're not wiping out everything; they're just adding everything at this point. Because they didn't want to exclude Christmas trees, so now if they want to have a Christmas tree in a city building they have to have two other things with it. But it couldn't be a reindeer and Christmas tree. It had to be a Christmas tree and a menorah and something else.
O'REILLY: Sounds like a great plan. What do you think, Caplis?
CAPLIS: Well, Bill, this is horrible. I mean, this should be a wake-up call to every member of your audience. If this kind of attack on American values can happen in Fort Collins, it can happen everywhere. You have this arrogant minority that wants to go to the point of stripping away Christmas trees and colored lights. I mean, this sounds like something out of the old Soviet Union. And people need to be very aware. This group on the left is mobilized; they're sophisticated; they're determined. And if you don't stand up and fight for your culture, they will take it away from you.
O'REILLY: All right, what group --
CAPLIS: They are trying to neuter American culture.
O'REILLY: -- on the left is doing this, Caplis?
CAPLIS: Well, here's -- you know, I looked into that, Bill. I'll tell you right now who's doing it. What happened is this committee got stacked. This committee of 15 got stacked with folks who don't celebrate Christmas. I talked today to the Catholic priest on the committee and he was frustrated as Hades, you know, and said this was minority rule, you know? This was a bunch of folks who don't celebrate Christmas. So, you know, the good news is the city council still gets to vote on this and I bet you dinner they say "no" to it.
O'REILLY: Well, so do I. I don't think the Fort --
BOYLE: Well, there --
O'REILLY: Go ahead, Ms. Boyle.
BOYLE: If I can just add that there is an indication about that. The mayor is talking about actually asking the council to adopt recommendations for the museum display -- which is all inclusive -- but not to adopt the policy about the white lights only, removing the bows from wreaths, and having penguins and snowflakes.
O'REILLY: But Ms. Boyle, do the powers that be in Fort Collins have any idea how ridiculous this whole thing is, and how now all over the United States, just like Boulder, Colorado, right down the highway from you, people are going to go, "What the heck is going on in Colorado?" This is insane. OK? It's the Christmas season; that's a federal holiday, OK? If a guy wants a menorah next to the Christmas tree, let him have it. If some dopey Wiccan wants to come up there with a star, put it on there. If there's a Kwanzaa thing that we can put it on, put on a Kwanzaa thing. It's a -- you know, this is what I mean. Caplis is right. This is an assault to diminish Christmas for secular-progressive reasons. And Fort Collins played right into it. Played right into it.
BOYLE: Well, I think I was going to say this is the kind of thing we make fun of Boulder for doing, you know?
BOYLE: This isn't typical Fort Collins. I think you'll see some changes.
O'REILLY: Boulder, I mean, I think you get put in jail now if you go in there and say "Merry Christmas" in Boulder, right? If you have a Santa hat on, isn't that three to five there, Caplis? Up in Boulder?
CAPLIS: Well, that's the ironic thing. 'Cause, Bill, you know Fort Collins. Up there --
O'REILLY: Yeah, it's a conservative area.
CAPLIS: -- they use ACLU members as hood ornaments. Yeah. And how an ACLU member ended up as the spokesman of this task force just shows you --
O'REILLY: The ACLU has a spokesman on the task force?
BOYLE: The co-spokesmen are. Yeah.
O'REILLY: All right.
O'REILLY: All right, well, the ACLU is always lurking behind to ruin Christmas for everybody. All right, we're going to follow the case. Ms. Boyle, I hope you can speak some sense to these people. And for me, you know, I mean, you don't need snowflake decorations in Colorado -- you just don't need them. You know? That would be like having, you know, I'm not even going to bother. All right, Dan, nice to see you again. Ms. Boyle, appreciate it. Plenty more ahead as The Factor moves along.