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Sunday, September 1, 2013

On Parenting and Family, Bill O’Reilly Should Tell the Complete Story

With his latest column, Bill O’Reilly has weighed in on (as have so many, including me) the Miley Cyrus “demon-in-heat” (with her hair-horns and gyrations, isn’t that what she wanted us to think?) MTV dance debacle. Instead of completely focusing on the former Disney darling, Mr. O’Reilly takes parents to task—and, indirectly at least, accuses Miley’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus, of bad parenting.

“[There’s] an epidemic of bad parenting going on in America,” said O’Reilly. He’s right. With over 20 years of experience teaching in American high schools (public and private), the bad behavior—which is certainly no uncommon thing these days—of almost every troubled or struggling kid that I’ve encountered can be traced back to his or her home. As I’ve often noted, the breakdown of the family is deadly for America, or any nation.

Mr. O’Reilly also mentions the “collapse of the traditional family.” I wonder where he got his idea for the “traditional family?” Does Mr. O’Reilly believe that children should be raised by a loving mother and a father? Does he believe that both parents are necessary in the proper rearing of our nation’s children? It sure sounds like this is the case.

I wonder if O’Reilly considers the attempts (and successes) at redefining marriage in this nation as an attack on the “traditional family.” I mean, part of the whole premise of the position behind the pro-same-sex marriage crowd is that children don’t really need a mother and a father. This is how adoption laws got changed, and such a position also played a role in courts deciding that men can legally marry men, and women can legally marry women.

Where did Mr. O’Reilly get his notions on family and parenting? I would think that the Bible would have informed him, but surely that could not be the case. Remember, earlier this year, O’Reilly said, “If you’re going to stand up for heterosexual marriage, and exclude gay marriage if you’re going to do that, you’ve gotta do it outside the Bible. You can’t cite the Bible, because you’ll lose if you do.”

Seemingly unaware of his hypocrisy, Mr. O’Reilly bemoaned the fact that, “the powers that be are mostly afraid to mention the collapse of the traditional family, because secular-progressives attack any judgmental behavior on the part of a politician.” I suppose O’Reilly doesn’t consider that calling Christians who oppose same-sex marriage on biblical principles “Bible thumpers” is an attack on “judgmental behavior.”

I hate to pile on, but Mr. O’Reilly also noted that, “Sociologists well understand that chaos at home causes violent behavior, educational failure and social alienation among children.” I wonder (yes, O’Reilly causes one to “wonder” much with this piece) how his children are coping. It is now well known that Mr. O’Reilly and his former wife Maureen McPhilmy have gone through a very nasty divorce, with their two children caught right in the middle.

You see, the “truth is” that divorce has done a great deal more than same-sex marriage in wreaking devastation upon America’s children. Both are a plague on our culture, and are “gravely harming this nation.” I know very little of the circumstances of the O’Reilly-McPhilmy divorce. I am not claiming that, because of his divorce, Bill O’Reilly has no right to discuss family issues. However, as a very public figure with a large microphone, he would do well, as he encourages Billy Ray Cyrus, to note his own shortcomings and tell the complete story (even using some Scripture) when it comes to the breakdown of the family.

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World


  1. Mr. Thomas, I never would have dreamed I would defend Bill O'Reilly, but have you actually read the Bible? The one where Jacob, King David, and Solomon have children with multiple wives and concubines? The Bible that reports how men paid fathers to buy their daughters to be their wives? The history of a culture where a man was allowed to simply dump a woman if she failed to reproduce, or sweep in the right direction?

    I don't disagree with your premise that children need a stable home life to do well in school. That stability can be provided in a number of ways, including the "traditional" mother-father household. However, your claim that the Bible endorses one-father/one-mother is unfounded. The Bible does however have a lot to say about protecting the widow and orphan. Your claim that Bill O'Reilly has nothing of value to say because he is divorced, is certainly not congruent with Jesus welcome and love to all people.

    Believing in Jesus does not give you a license to judge. It gives you the responsibility to love. That means that if you love children and want them to learn, you should do everything in your power to ensure they have stable homes. How about campaigning for a livable wage so a parent can support a family on one job? Or bringing some beautiful foster kids into your own model family? Or doing something to support the millions of children in Syria who are displaced from their homes?

    Is your inability to reason and cite sources a result of an unstable family or poor teaching? I give your review a solid F.

    1. Yes, I've read the Bible, and, unlike yourself, I (usually) understand the context. Yes, Scripture reveals what you describe about Jacob, David, et al. One of the more unique and redeeming characteristics of the Bible is that it does not hide the sin of its characters--even those who follow God. Scripture CLEARLY reveals that God's plan for family and rearing children begins with one father and one mother. It is how God chose to begin all of humanity, and Jesus Himself acknowledged this when he was questioned about divorce.

      Also, as with Scripture, your reading skills in the case of this post are lacking. I went out of my way to point out that Mr. O'Reilly's shortcomings within his own family does not preclude him from discussing family issues in general. In fact, as I noted, he is quite right about some things.