For The Hill on 2/25/13
Not since Norman Mailer penned a translation of the New Testament has the literary world seen such buzz. Bill O’Reilly, rankest of publicists and cheapest of political apparatchiks, today turns his savage schoolboy passion to the story of the Christ on the dharma path to Calvary. No “Gospel of Thomas” this, or Tolstoy’s masterful “Gospel in Brief.” O’Reilly is or hopes to be the priest who accompanies the conquistador. We, the Americans, he tells Jesus, are on the march to global cultural conquest and have via TV and radio and movies and the web (and bags of money and soldiers) all but dominated the world’s imagination: You come too, Jesus. We will bring you, too.
Yet nothing is more explicit in the New Testament than the explanation that the things of Caesar are not the things of God, the one should be kept apart from the other and the good woman or man who seeks transcendence will ignore Caesar entirely. And hopefully ignore Bill O’Reilly as well. This is why WWE’s Zeb Coulter’s and Jack Swagger’s Tea Party smack down of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter is funny. This is why Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the Republicans are becoming the “stupid party.” This is why they are such an easy target for David Letterman, Tina Fey, Julianne Moore, most of the press corp, the entire Hollywood establishment and their award system. This is why 65% of Americans today, when asked to give a word or short phrase to describe the Republican Party in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, offered a negative comment.