Photo Credit: Fox News
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly continued to discuss his "thump the Bible" controversy on Thursday night, bringing on Megyn Kelly to share her views about the outrage that has ensued since his comments about conservatives and gay marriage last week.
During the segment, Kelly strongly defended O'Reilly, claiming that his controversial statement about conservative Americans and their same-sex marriage arguments shouldn't be taken so contentiously.
The decision to bring Kelly on makes sense, considering that she was on the show with the host last week when O'Reilly said that conservatives who are opposed to gay marriage don't necessarily have the strongest arguments.
At the beginning of last night's segment, O'Reilly first differentiated between how conservatives have argued against abortion versus how they've tackled gay marriage. While on the former, the host says that theology has been overwhelmingly left out of the right's talking points (i.e. opponents have relied upon DNA, science and other more compelling points), the latter issue is a very different story.
On the same-sex marriage front, O'Reilly said, "Anti-gay marriage forces -- not individuals -- have not seized upon one central persuasive argument like the human DNA component." The host, noting that he believes secular courts are hostile to religion, also said, once again, that conservatives need more compelling arguments (he also highlighted some points that could or should be used in the gay marriage debate).
After discussing the issue, Kelly appeared on the show to speak further about the debate -- and the attacks on O'Reilly. In addition to noting that she didn't find his comment about thumping the Bible particularly problematic when he first said it, Kelly defended the host against detractors.
"At no point did I think that you were being pejorative of the religious right or people who believe in their religious ideals in terms of opposing gay marriage," she said. "Now the haters are always going to hate on you and they're going to perceive everything you say in a way that's least favorable to you and most controversial."
Kelly also noted that O'Reilly has been among the staunchest defenders of religious liberty -- something conservative opponents haven't considered in their latest attacks on the host.
"And I'm not kissing your butt. This is fact," she added.
Watch the segment, below:
O'Reilly's latest coverage comes after criticism from radio host Rush Limbaugh and a separate debate with commentator Laura Ingraham. Despite these disagreements, the Fox host continues to clarify and defend his statements given last week on "The O'Reilly Factor."
"The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals," the host said in the commentary that set off the firestorm. In making this comment, he was agreeing with Kelly's assessment that those who oppose same-sex unions haven't made strong points to corroborate their views on the matter.
But it was what came next that riled critics.
"That’s where the compelling argument is: ‘We are Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else.’ That’s a compelling argument," he continued. "And to deny that you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to anything but thump the Bible."