Last Friday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling revealed that one of the central characters in the series, Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, was gay. Though Rowling says her books are a “prolonged argument for tolerance,” some conservatives attacked the revelation, saying it was “revolting” and vindication for the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s homophobia.
On his Fox News show last night, Bill O’Reilly joined in the fray, asking if Dumbledore’s outing was part of the “gay agenda” of “indoctrination” of “children.” O’Reilly claimed that by dropping “the gay bomb,” Rowling is a “provocateur” who is “going to let all hell break loose”:
O’REILLY: Now, Dumbledore is not overtly gay in the book.
JORDAN: Absolutely not.
O’REILLY: So you wouldn’t know whether he was gay or not, right?
JORDAN: And in fact, you don’t know anything about the sex lives of any of the teachers.
O’REILLY: Of any of them. Although those wizards, I’m very very suspicious about what they’re doing in their spare time. So, I think, this is my conclusion, is that J.K. Rowling is a provocateur, did it on purpose, and now is going to let all hell break loose.
O’Reilly argued there are “many parents” who are “worried in America about the gay agenda and indoctrination of their children to see homosexuality in a certain way.” His guest, Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor Tina Jordan, called his “indoctrination” claims “a shallow argument,” saying “indoctrination is a very strong word” because “we all know gay people, whether we know it or not.”
O’Reilly has a history of boorishly attacking the gay community in the name of his ongoing battle against “secular progressives”:
“I don’t want [gay] people intruding on a parade where little children are standing there, watching.” [O’Reilly Factor, 03/17/06]
“Clustering” gays near children is “insane,” “dumb” and “inappropriate.” [O’Reilly Factor, 07/11/07]
“This crazy gay marriage insanity — is gonna lead to all kinds of things like this” like “somebody” coming “in and say[ing], ‘I wanna marry the goat.’” [Radio Factor, 04/13/05]
By going after Dumbledore, O’Reilly is demonstrating how necessary Rowling’s message of tolerance still is.