Unfiltered: Bill O'Reilly talks with FOX 5's Tom Haynes

Unfiltered: Bill O'Reilly talks with FOX 5's Tom Haynes

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NEW YORK -

Bill O'Reilly isn't afraid to weigh in on controversial topics, and it seems he's done it again. The outspoken host of the "The O'Reilly Factor" on the FOX News channel went one-on-one with FOX 5's Tom Haynes in New York.

O'Reilly talked about the heat he took after he jumped in on the Trayvon Martin verdict. On his show, the provocative cable news host sparked a red-hot wave of controversy -- challenging the outrage felt by many in the civil rights community after the not guilty verdict, saying their anger was misguided.

"It's not about race, it's about acceptance of a culture that causes families to blow up," O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly blames some in the entertainment industry for promoting a violent culture and the breakdown of the American family.

"Trayvon Martin never should have been killed.  But he wasn't killed because he was a black man.  He was killed because there's a culture that puts forth an image that's frightening to people," said O'Reilly.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, whose son was a victim of crime, said that he disagrees with Bill O'Reilly on many issues, but that focus on the family is where they find common ground.  The chairman is spending a lot of time on the front lines engaging young African-Americans promoting that virtue.

"I always tell them the importance of education," Eaves said.  "I always tell them the importance as, of men, to be respectful of women. I tell them the importance of being as a future father to be in the lives of their children, that manhood is determined by responsibility and positive acts, not by abandonment, not by acquiring a material possession."

O'Reilly is not a politician, but he wishes more of them would take a page out of Eaves' book and, in his words, have the guts to confront crime in America and perhaps prevent tragedies like the one we saw in Sanford, Fla.

"It's about encouraging stable families -- that's what it's about," O'Reilly said. "So our cowardly politicians should knock off the bull and say that."

O'Reilly's controversial new book, Killing Jesus, is perhaps one the gutsiest moves he's ever made.

"You have to think about him if you want to be a serious human being, because he had more influence on this civilization than anyone.  So how did it happen," O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard attempt to explain that in Killing Jesus, which follows his other bestsellers Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.

"We were kind of like historical detectives, Martin Dugard and I.  And that was difficult," O'Reilly said.

Difficult because O'Reilly says he had to separate scripture from historical fact, not referring to Jesus as the son of God or the messiah -- something that angered many Christians who say the two are inseparable.

"Well, that's fallacious.  I mean, there's the history and then there's the religious aspect and they're not intertwined," O'Reilly said.

Despite the criticism, Mark Bauerlein, a professor at Emory University and bestselling author himself, says O'Reilly managed to accomplish something others who have written about Jesus haven't.

"What O'Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard are able to do is to present real human beings doing real things," said Bauerlein. "They are responding to actualities that we can all identify with. And one of the values of the book is really popular history."

O'Reilly makes no bones about it: he's a devout Catholic. FOX 5's Tom Haynes asked him what he thinks Jesus would make of his efforts at documenting his life.

"I don't know what Jesus thinks of me, I hope he likes me.  I'm trying to do my best.  It's an honest book.  It's a really honest book.  So I think he would respect that," O'Reilly said.

Want to see more of Tom's interview with Bill O'Reilly? Click the links below to hear more from Bill:

FOX 5's Tom Haynes interviews Bill O'Reilly Part One: Talking Trayvon

FOX 5's Tom Haynes interviews Bill O'Reilly Part Two: Killing Jesus

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