As with anything that issues forth from Mr. O'Reilly, there are many layers of wrongness that could be addressed. He's like an onion in that way. A big stinky onion. To take an obvious example, it is possible to cherry pick comments from a blog to make whatever case one wishes.
But as Booman points out, there is nothing hateful or offensive about using the word "primate" to refer to the Pope or any other human, lemur, gibbon, orangutan, etc. And he further notes that there is another usage of the word:
In fact, Bill, it's even in the online Catholic Encyclopedia. And you were an altar boy, too. I'm so disappointed in you...
1. Ecclesiastical. an archbishop or bishop ranking first among the bishops of a province or country.
Now, I'll be honest with you. When I first started to work on this post earlier today, I was planning to go for the cheap laugh, speculating that, from a taxonomic perspective, Bill doesn't quite make the cut as a primate. And then I was going to try to figure out the funniest creature with which I could compare him.
Last night we started a weekly discussion series at my church on the concept of "grace". Our rector started the meeting by sharing this prayer, which he had also shared during the service earlier in the day:
Thanksgiving for the Social Order
7. For the Diversity of Races and Cultures
O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Show us your presence in those who differ most from us", huh? Guess that would imply a willingness to see that presence in those who differ most from me. Even those who come off like real jerks.
Guess that's one of the reasons I need grace...