That was originally broadcast in either 2004 or 2005. I saw it live when it happened.
Although Mr. Strobel’s show was a bit of a set-up, where his Christian guests were often better prepared than their critics (as in this piece), that wasn’t always the case and some incredible discussions happened. It usually appeared that Strobel gave both sides their say, but unfortunately, there were the “hard cut edits” (which you can see in this piece) that cause you to pause and wonder.
It was unlike anything else on TV, and I was sad it didn’t last.
Unless you know everything that Jon knows, or close to it, you can only say that Ms. Gaylor won that debate because you agree with her. She was not anywhere near as well-prepared, and she stumbled around a lot. Even when she “exposed” Barton, she didn’t know how to capitalize.
Yes, Barton does lie. He’s talking so fast about so obscure a subject, how would one know?
Yes, he kicks the can back to his failed sources. That’s actually a very good (albeit dishonest) debate tactic, and she did nothing to pounce on it.
What bothers me is Barton’s shifting of definitions of how we’re a Christian nation. If tomorrow, 88% of Americans said that we all must smoke government supplied dope, Barton would howl, and declare that the Constitution protects his individual right, and there’d be no way that 88% approval of the policy would make us a stoner nation in his mind. That’s B.S. on stilts.
And as Jon consistently points out, Barton says “Christian” and his audience hears a whole set of conservative, Evangelical, and probably even fundamentalist doctrines. 88% of Americans are NOT fundamentalist or evangelical (combined).
Ms. Gaylor never explained the significance of the shilling for the GOP, even when Strobel gave her a chance.
One tactic that he used in 2004 while working for the GOP was to lie about Christian voter turnout — dramatically inflating the number of Christian voters who didn’t turn out in 2000. Talk about a fake quote — that one was re-used regularly during 2008. And it ALWAYS traced back to Barton.
Finally, the main problem with shows like this that they want an exciting fight more than they want a rational discussion. Ms. Gaylor was the wrong person to make the point that Jon did in the piece above, “Sunday excepted clause. A nominal indirect reference to Christianity. Which again hits at the truth: The US Constitution is secular and godless, but not in the way the French Revolution was, but in a softer way and one that more accommodates religious customs.” It’s because of that balance — that fundamental fairness — that I’ve had Jon Rowe as a guest on the radio on more than one occasion.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Babka on Barton's Debate
My co-blogger at Positive Liberty, Jim Babka, left this very apt comment: