A fiery debate broke out on Thursday night when television host Bill O’Reilly was joined by Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Mikey Weinstein to discuss the removal of two nativities from public dining areas at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
While the conversation started out calmly, it didn’t take long for the debate to heat up, with O’Reilly inevitably calling Weinstein a “jerk” and telling his producers to cut him off.
At the start of the exchange, Weinstein referred to the nativities inside base dining halls as “unlawful” and defended the 18 anonymous soldiers he claims came to his group to complain about their presence.
“The 18 complained to you. Did you release their names? Do you have their names?,” O’Reilly asked. “Is there anyone among the 18 who would come on this program and explain why they’re offended?”
Weinstein didn’t offer up the individuals’ identities.
O’Reilly then proceeded to explain why he doesn’t understand the opposition to the Christmas displays.
“The creche and the nativity scene just basically portrays what happened on Christmas Day and because it is a federal holiday it seems to be in context,” the host said. “It’s not like you’re making anybody at Guantanamo Bay pray or go to church or say, ‘Hallelujah! I love Jesus.’ It’s a depiction of the federal holiday.”
The debate really heated up, though, when Weinstein said that the dynamics surrounding “Christian privilege” are changing.
“What we’re really seeing — Christian privilege previously unchallenged being challenged,” he said, later adding, “My point is, Christian privilege is now gone and now welcome to the land of equality. You must all share your toys.”
O’Reilly responded that he didn’t believe Weinstein was making any sense — and then the situation turned personal, with O’Reilly calling the complainants “cowardly.”
“It was cowardly because this is a depiction of a secular holiday that was signed into law … and if someone’s offended about it I want to know why and your guys don’t have the courage to stand up and tell me,” O’Reilly said.
Weinstein responded, “Bill, please don’t call our members of our military cowards…at least they joined the military and they’re prepared to fight…your christian personal rights will always be trumped by the civil rights of your fellow American citizens.”
From there, O’Reilly called Weinstein a “bloviator,” with the activist responding that the host is an “arrogant idiot.”
“Cut him off — he’s a jerk,” O’Reilly said.
Watch the fiery exchange below:
As TheBlaze previously reported, the nativities were moved to the base chapel following Weinstein’s complaint earlier this week.