Sunday, October 04, 2009
As I posted here before, back in August we had a visit from an officer of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association to our Word of God conference in Cajun country, who was evidently confused by our advertising campaign. Although we billed the conference as an educational event for Catholics concerning the sacraments of marriage and priesthood, some evidently received the impression that it was going to be a value-neutral free exchange of alternative worldviews. Our friend from NOSHA was disappointed when Michael, Brant, and I began to consistently argue for a Catholic and biblical approach to various human realities. In particular he challenged me to a debate in a NOSHA-sponsored venue on the topic of marriage. I declined, as I am primarily a (unfrozen caveman) bible scholar, not a marriage-and-public-policy guy, but I offered to get him in contact with Brian Brown, one of the leaders of the National Organization for Marriage. Brian immediately jumped on the offer to debate and contacted NOSHA. Unfortunately, NOSHA wanted him to come and debate, but would not pay for any of his expenses, neither travel nor lodging.
For those who don't do public speaking professionally, let me make clear that no one pays their own way to come and speak. If you're serious about having a speaker--especially a nationally-recognized one--you pay expenses plus stipend. Would Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, or Daniel Dennett pay their own way to come to Franciscan University to debate with us? That's an easy question to answer.
Everyone can draw their own conclusions about how serious the interest in debate really was.
(For those who don't recognize him, the headshot is everyone's favorite British atheist, Richard Dawkins)