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Friday, May 14, 2010

Interesting "Christian Nation" Debate

The following is a debate between Herb Silverman (a distinguished mathematics professor and self-proclaimed atheist) and E. Ray Moore (pastor, theologian and passionate advocate for the Christian Nation thesis), held at USC just a few months ago. And though both of these men are not professional historians, their debate is still interesting to watch, since they address many of the issues that we have discussed ad nauseum at this blog. It also illustrates some of the typical ignorance of many "enlightened" thinkers on both sides. Moore spews the typical conservative rhetoric that America was once a great "Christian" nation but has lost its way, and that the only way to return to our former greatness is to recognize the "obvious" Christianity of our Founding Fathers. Silverman, on the other hand, exhibits the time-honored tradition of the left of exclusively referencing Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and Paine (founders who fit his agenda) while conveniently ignoring the scores of other founders who would cringe at the notion of a completely secular America. Regardless of these obviously biased mindsets, this debate is still interesting to watch:

Part 1: Moore's opening statement:

-Moore reveals his stunning ignorance of the Holy Trinity Church v. United States case. Justice David Brewer's opinion was dicta, not part of the holding, and it had no relevance at all to the legal issue. This case had nothing...NOTHING to do with America's "Christian" heritage.

Part 2: Moore's Opening Statement (cont.) and Silverman's Opening Statement:

-Silverman, of course, only mentions the select few founders (Jefferson, Madison, Franklin) who fit with his view of "secular" founders. He never mentions the other founders who were quite religious.

Part 3: Silverman's Opening Statement (cont.):

Part 4: Moore's Rebuttal:

Part 5: Silverman's Rebuttal:

-Silverman brings up the important point that not all "Christianity" is the same. If America is a "Christian" nation, which brand of Christianity are we talking about?

Part 6: Moore and Silverman's Cross Examinations:

Part 7: Q & A:

Part 8: Moore's Closing Statement:

Part 9: Silverman's Closing Statement:

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