On Feb. 22, Bill O’Reilly, the host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” discussed the eight sabbats included in the University of Missouri’s, “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodation.” O’Reilly, along with his guests Bernard McGuirk, the executive producer of “Imus in the Morning,” and Greg Gutfeld, the author of “The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage,” sarcastically and unabashedly discussed the inclusion of Wiccan holidays in the university’s guide for faculty and students.
This is not the first time that a Fox News show host has insulted the pagan community, and O’Reilly’s commentary comes on the heels of the insults lodged by Tucker Carlson, one of the hosts of “Fox News and Friends Weekend,” just last week. O’Reilly’s aired take on the addition of Wiccan holidays in the University of Missouri’s guide comes less than 24 hours before Tucker Carlson offered an on-air apology for having offended members of the Wiccan community.
First, O’Reilly points out that the university’s guide has 42 holidays on their calendar and he identifies 11 Jewish holidays, seven Christian holidays and eight Wiccan holidays in the school’s guide. He seems to express surprise that Wiccans have eight holidays when he says: “Wiccan and Pagan holidays “they have eight … and on those holidays, you can’t do anything … you get no tests, you get off, all of that. Wiccan and pagan holidays…you get eight.”
In truth, the university’s guide lists 47 holidays, including five Hindu, three Islamic, four Buddhist, one Sikh, three Baha’i and one Shinto holiday. There is 11 Jewish holidays and the college’s calendar also lists seven Roman Catholic and Protestant holidays, and three Eastern Orthodox celebrations, so in all, there are ten Christian holidays in the University of Missouri’s guide all together. What’s more, out of the 47 holidays listed in the guide, 17 holidays have “significant work restrictions” listed and 23 holidays are listed with recommendations for accommodation, but not a single Wiccan holiday listed has any work restrictions or suggested accommodations.
O’Reilly did say “I don’t see anything wrong with this as long as the university is upfront about it … it is a movement, there are Wiccans and Witches and they do what they do … this is America.”
McGuirk, working with erroneous information, suggested that no religion can hold up for long under intense scrutiny, and said “you can worship cows and suck on maple tree twigs if you want to go to heaven, and that’s fine and we should tolerate it,” he told O’Reilly. McGuirk continued with “but the same difference should be shown to my religion, the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity … it’s not the case.” In fact, there are ten Christian holidays acknowledged in the guide, with three requiring “significant work restrictions” and four holidays listing suggested accommodations; Again, when compared to the eight Wiccan and Pagan holidays, there are no restrictions or accommodations mentioned whatsoever.
Greg Gutfeld sarcastically called himself a “class three warlock … which means I can turn people into Frogs.” He then went on to suggest that Wiccans “are extremely nice people … unlike some more extreme religions, they don’t try and kill you.” Gutfeld also suggested that the addition of the holidays in the school's calendar is okay, provided that practitioners don't cast any evil spells, only good spells.
The panel concluded its discussion about Wiccans by questioning where a Wiccan might go on spring break and asking whether or not it would be Salem, Massachusetts. Gutfeld asserts that he sits alone and cries while watching reruns of “Saved by the Bell.”
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