In news almost too stupid to bother refuting, Bill O’Reilly is blaming the decline of religion in America on hip-hop.
A recent Pew Research study shows that the number of Americans who self-identify as Christians has been on the decline since 2007, while the percentage of people identifying as unaffiliated spiked from 16.1 percent in 2007 to 22.8 percent in 2014.
Obviously, these statistics were gonna get an entrenched conservative like Bill O’Reilly upset. And when Bill sees a problem, Bill needs a scapegoat — and when you’re a conservative talking head, what better scapegoat is there than black people? (Another recent example: Geraldo Rivera saying hip-hop is worse than racism for black people.)
“There is no question that people of faith are being marginalized by a secular media and pernicious entertainment,” O’Reilly said. “The rap industry, for example, often glorifies depraved behavior. That sinks into the minds of some young people — the group that is most likely to reject religion.”
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Put aside the fact that numbers just don’t back that up (Washington Post explains why, which we’ll get to in a second) and let’s get something clear: If Bill O’Reilly thinks the music industry “glorifies depraved behavior,” that didn’t start with rap. From Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his underage cousin to Led Zeppelin‘s groupie escapades to the entirety of Mötley Crüe‘s career, rock has been pawing at the moral fabric of American culture for a lot longer.
Not to mention pop music — which has sacrificed lyrical innuendos for blatant sexual references in its lyrics and music videos over the last 30 years — could certainly be accused of the same thing.
But no, rock and pop are primarily white fields. So obviously O’Reilly isn’t going to target those types of music. Instead, he specifically hones in on rap. Similarly, when he went after hyper-sexuality in music, he didn’t go after Katy Perry or Britney Spears — he targeted Beyonce, even though her ‘sexualized’ output being comparatively tame.
It really doesn’t take a psychologist to see the guy is fixated on finding a minority scapegoat for what he perceives as the nation’s ills.
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As for the numbers refuting O’Reilly’s take on the subject, Washington Post points out that black Americans are actually the least likely group to reject religion these days. And considering that black Americans are statistically more likely to listen to hip-hop than white Americans, the whole “hip-hop is killing religion” argument almost immediately falls apart.
On the next episode of The O’Reilly Factor: How Empire is causing childhood obesity.