Debate Available to Download

Last night's debate in Wausau is now available for listening (scroll down). Attorney Rick Esenberg was supposed to argue the "yes" side of the debate, but was ill and unable to attend. Instead, the Marshfield businessman and Pastor, Art Scottberg filled the spot.

Channel 7 news reports on the debate as do Wausau Daily Herald and WPR.


At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Kory said...

First of all, thank you Mike and Scott for representing the No vote on this debate.

I had a few points to add on some of the questions to strengthen our message as No voters.

With regard to the notion that the Bible is our foundation for the morality behind our laws in this nation, I would like to say that I feel the separation of church and state is appropriate. I don't feel the Bible is what defines our 'morality' when it comes to laws such as murder. The morality comes down to an issue of fairness. In the founding of our nation, our forefathers established the phrase and concept of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"...when an individual terminates the life of another, that individual is denying the victim their right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Most of our ancestors came to this country seeking exactly that, a right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Also, if the Bible were our governing legislation, divorce would not be legal, and adultery would be a crime, along with eating shellfish, wearing cotton-poly blends, etc. Where are the amendments banning that?

Furthermore, separation of church and state allows everyone to practice their religion as they choose. Many of our forefathers came to this land to escape the oppression of theocracies or state-run religion. The pilgrims, often viewed as the quintessential vision of the early American immigrant came to Plymouth for that very reason; they were unhappy with the Anglican faith and sought refuge in the new world to live as their personal faith dictated. Some Wisconsinites faith does not dictate that marriage is between one man and one woman. Should we go against our heritage and history now and establish in our government what our forefathers were specifically trying to avoid?

To discuss Jesus' upbringing, did He not have two Father's? The Christian Faith recognizes that Jesus was conceived through Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary. Jesus also had Joseph as a father-figure.

Moses was raised by pagan, polygamist Egyptians that God later smote. He seems to be a perfect example of how great adults can come from alternative family lifestyles.

I consider myself to be a good example as well. My father was taken from this world when I was 4. For several years after that, I was raised by my mother and two older sisters. Would these pastors aside from Scott dare to allege that I am a lesser person due to my non-traditional upbringing? God chose, for whatever reason, to take my father to Heaven when He did. Was God wrong to leave me in the hands of my single mother and sisters? If He truly maintains that a child needs a masculine male influence and a feminine female influence to adequately raise a child then He wouldn't have taken my father when He did.

I think it is safe to say that God, who is omniscient and omnipotent, knows better than us, and furthermore His Will is beyond our comprehension. Perhaps we should just let Him be judge. Isn't that what Jesus commanded when He said, "Let He Who is without sin cast the first stone"?

Getting back to masculine and feminine role models as parents, there are, in our society masculine women and feminine men. If the notion is that parents need to fill those roles, who is to say that a masculine man and a feminine man cannot do this?

Sidebar: Can we get a list of these "Thousands of studies" that show opposite-sex parents are better equipped to raise children than same-sex parents? I need to see an actual list. We can at least quote our references.

Alternative families are everywhere, even in the Bible. There was a time when the Christian Church was in its infancy, that certain lifestyle decisions made by its members were deemed strange by the majority faith of the time. These early Christians were hunted down or persecuted in many cases. Jesus Himself was no exception. Did not the Scribes and Pharisees attack Him on His Faith whenever possible? Were the Romans, prior to Emperor Constantine, right in their persecution of Christians when their pagan faith was the majority? Was the Taliban right to deny rights to women and persecute other faiths simply because they were representing a majority faith in power?

It was less than 2000 years ago that Christians were running for their lives from religious persecution. Protestants need only go back 500 years. Are we that quick to forget the lessons we learned about picking on the little guys? Have we lost perspective on what it is like to be the one who happened to be different?

In the end Mike, you were right to bring the debate back to the here and now. We have families NOW who are suffering from a lack of rights. We can debate the meaning of Jesus' words forever and never get it right. In many ways 'never get it right' is synonymous with being human. The Faith community has yet to truly end a debate where multiple passages are concerned. Poll 10 different faiths on the practice of infant baptism. How about the meaning and/or symbolism (or potential lack therof) in Holy Communion?

At the very least we as Wisconsinites can choose to leave our government out of the faith debate. We can VOTE NO on the amendment, and allow people to continue to live their faith their way.

{sorry...I went off on a long rant...I apologize to any readers of it.}

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

Gee, Kory! A long rant, but a good one. However, I beg to differ with you on part of the message.

To argue "separation of church and state" immediately concedes the issue to the YES-voting Christians. Because it makes the implication that Christians (and the Bible etc) are clearly against alternative ways of forming households.

I am much more confortable with the second part of your rant. It is there that you start thinking like a Christian, because you are asking the question: "What does the Bible really say about alternative households?"

Fact is, there are hundreds of places where the Bible places clear emphasis on caring for families. What does it say?

Not one-man one-woman. Most of the marriages in the Bible are polygamous or common law.

Not married with children. Most of the references are about the clear moral obligation of caring for widows and orphans.

The trouble with "YES" Christians is that they talk about the Bible, but they really don't quote from it very much. And when they do, the quotes are pretty obscure and out of context.

Rather than separating church and state, we could be ramming the Bible right down the Bibolators' throats!

Mike does a great job at the civil arguments on this amendment. But I wish that the media would give more air time to Eric, or someone else can argue the Christian side persuasively.

The Christian argument is ultimately a moral argument. And it's not about the morals of where I stick my wiener, since God has little concern about that, and the amendment won't stop me from loving my partner.

The Christian argument is about caring for widows and orphans. God has plenty to say about that, and the amendment is designed explicitly to prevent people from caring for widows and orphans.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

After posting, I listened to the panel discussion, and I applaud all four participants!

Mike... I think that the good sisters from your Catholic grade school would be proud of the respect you showed to the 75% of the panel who were clergy. And for your ability to make clear, from a secular perspective, exactly how important is the message of the Gospel.

Scott... We need more pastors like you on the Christian airwaves. Can you buy some airtime?

Joel... Thank you for beginning and ending with messages of love from the Scriptures! So often, the YES folk simply appear as bigots, and that is a horrible winess to the world. We should always be people of love.

Art... Thank you for recognizing that gay and lesbian folk are marginalized. It would be interesting to have heard you answer the question: "How would you minister to these folks and still vote YES?"

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I just listened to the debate, and wow...there's some interesting viewpoints out there. The last audience member, for example, who wondered if a child wouldn't be better off in an orphanage than a same-sex household. Or the man who equated "throwing out the Bible" on this CONSTITUTIONAL amendment with legalizing murder. It just goes to show that we all still have a lot of work to do, whether it be canvassing, writing letters, speaking to family and friends, or mailing checks. I think we do have a shot at winning, but I think it'll mean taking a deliberate turn, as FW has done, toward addressing faith communities directly. A huge majority of the blogs I read supporting the amendment cite Bible verses and "God's will". I like how, in the debate, Mike asked the audience member where in the Bible it said a lifelong partner shouldn't be able to visit a loved one in the hospital. Let's speak about what the Bible teaches and how the amendment relates to the Bible in real terms, not abstract isolated verses or "2000 years of scripture".


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