The Rushmore Report: The Faith of Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly hosts the most popular cable show in television history. Born in New York City, he grew up on Long Island. He is a best-selling author and is unmatched in his popularity as a political pundit. And the author of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and Killing Jesus is devout in his faith.

O’Reilly’s family is 100 percent Irish, which gives away his faith a bit. Bill O’Reilly is a practicing Catholic, and has been for his entire life.

Despite his devotion – he still regularly attends church – O’Reilly has no problems criticizing the Catholic Church as an institution. He has bashed various Popes for various reasons. And he’s said that the church hasn’t done enough to fight gay marriage.

Still, he considers himself a good Catholic, justifying his faith against the pitfalls of the Catholic Church. He says, “From the beginning, in Sister Claudia’s first grade class, I understood that the Catholic Church was about Jesus, not Father Flannery. Believe me, I saw so many loons in my Catholic school days that I should be a Buddhist. But it is the theology, not church leadership, that keeps me in the fold.”

O’Reilly likes the fundamentals of Christianity, having said that Jesus’ message is “full-force positive.” His public statements on faith tend to lean conservative and often evangelical. Many conclude that the only reason he remains a Catholic is because of his long family heritage in the church.

The popular pundit says he is non-partisan. “I’m not a political guy in the sense that I embrace an ideology. To this day, I’m an independent thinker, an independent voter. I’m a registered independent.”

Investigators have looked into O’Reilly’s background and found that he was once registered as a Republican. But that didn’t last long, and he has made many public statements that lean conservative, while he is fond of blasting the leadership of both major political parties.

Here are a few of the more pointed statements about his faith.

1. On the church – “I grew up in a traditional Catholic home. We went to church on Sundays. I became an altar boy.”

2. About God – “I believe in God and the orthodoxy of the church. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. My views about that have never changed.”

3. On creation – “I believe in Intelligent Design of the universe and that God created the human race.”

4. On heaven and hell – “Every man has a free will to choose right and wrong. You either choose to do good or you choose to do evil. And what you choose to do in your lifetime will be rewarded or punished by the Intelligent Designer of the universe.”

5. On Jesus’ teachings – “If everybody followed Jesus’ teachings, then there wouldn’t be any war, wouldn’t be any strife, wouldn’t be any abuse. Everybody would be, not perfect, but certainly in a positive realm.”

6. On Jesus – “I believe the biblical narrative that Jesus was sent by God.”

7. On the Bible – “I read the Scriptures. I read them and I think about them and then, when the priest is boring me into shreds, I don’t even listen to him. I just think about the passage. I think it’s worth an hour a week to get out of myself and go into a church. I like the whole ritual.”

8. On prayer – “I pray every night. Just standard prayers. If there’s a bad thing happening, I’ll think about it and try to say, ‘Give me a little inspiration here on how to handle this thing.’ I try to be humble enough to say, ‘Look I don’t have it right now and I need some help.’ And it usually comes.”

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