Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Invitation to a vivisection

Hugh Hewitt interviews Paul Campos.

Campos is a law professor in Colorado and a sometime columnist for the Rocky Mountain News.

Hewitt is a law professor, A-list blogger, and nationally syndicated radio host.

Campos took a swipe at Hewitt in a recent column.

What was that Mark Twain said about not picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel? Hewitt invited Campos on his show. The Marines have a saying: If you find yourself in a fair fight, you have not adequately prepared.

Hewitt was prepared.

Campos got his posterior anatomy handed to him on a silver platter, and didn't even realize it. He was expertly sliced, diced, julienned and pureed. This interview - if you can call a public vivisection an interview - should be required reading in cross-ex classes.

As professor Glenn says, RTWT.

UPDATE: Welcome, Hewitt readers! If you liked this, you might like some of the rest of the stuff here. Please go to the effort of leaving a comment - it gets lonely out here on the long tail.


tim said...

It's certainly interesting dialogue. I fail to understand the glee in seeing someone sliced, diced, julienned and pureed, if in fact that is what happened and it would not give me any pleasure if it had been turned around. Reasoned, public debate is vital to our nation, why does it have to be turned into a 'public vivisection'? Is that the only way we can dialogue anymore?

Hewitt is obviously a more seasoned public personality with every angle covered and every answer readied. (ever try to win a theological argument with a mormon - virtually impossible). Campos is an opinion columnist for goodness sake, not a news reporter. He should be accurate, but he is paid to put his slant, his opinion, to be interesting and that is done in a variety of ways.

I was struck by the way Hewitt did not want to discuss the issues, but small details of his column. The issue of what we drive in America, the way we do not want to feel ANY impact of the war or make ANY sacrifices - that is an important issue - not the particulars of this one individual driver. I felt Campos writing was a good way to start a column or a discussion.

What really should concern Christians is that we have people preaching in our evangelical pulpits who know every in and out of Hugh Hewitt (I have to admit I did not know who he was prior to this article) and have no idea who Henri Nouwen is. That is the state of American Christianity for heavens sake.

Corrie said...

Hewitt regularly engages in reasoned debate with folks of all stripes. His regular guests include folks from the left side of the spectrum. Campos' columns are not attempts at reasoned debate. As Hewitt showed, they tend toward ad-hominem attacks with little or no basis in fact or reason. Hewitt hoist him on his own petard.

Writers are influential in some circles and not in others. Nouwen is very popular among religious liberals. But as a Catholic priest, his views are simply not going to have much currency in Evangelical circles. Few evangelicals have read John Paul's hugely influential encyclicals, so why should they be expected to be familiar with the work of a Dutch priest who struggled with homosexuality?

tim said...

This is a stunning response. (isn't Wikipedia great?) If you would of looked a little futher you may of found that Nouwen was selected as the world's second most influential Christian figure in a poll of 3400 PROTESTANT Church leaders in 1994 (2nd only to Billy Graham) Graham, along with Rick Warren, Philip Yancey, Chuck Colson and too many others to name consider him a major influence. And those individuals in turn have had some influence in evangelical circles, I think you would agree.

When he died Christianity Today devoted an ENTIRE issue to selected writings of his. (I do believe this the leading evangelical publication) Who else have this done this for? This is limited appeal?

Do you mean liberal in regards to theology or politics? Read Nouwen's "In the Name of Jesus" and tell me he is liberal. You know one can be theologically conservative and politically liberal, it is quite possible.

Call someone liberal and gay and that pretty much trumps needing to have any real knowledge about someone I guess. (although your Hamlet reference is nice). Nouwen probably did have a homosexual orientation, but for all accounts he remained celibate and accepted God's role for him, which I think makes his work and Godly life even more admirable. (but of course he's no Sean Hannity, maybe a Bob Davis when it comes to influence.)

timC said...

You stated:

"What really should concern Christians is that we have people preaching in our evangelical pulpits who know every in and out of Hugh Hewitt (I have to admit I did not know who he was prior to this article) and have no idea who Henri Nouwen is. That is the state of American Christianity for heavens sake."

This is a non-sequitur to the discussion, indeed to the rest of your own response. What is its cogency to Hugh Hewitt and his interview? Furthermore, who are these "people preaching" that you reference? Apparently we should not be too concerned either because according to your second response Nouwen is "the world's second most influential Christian figure". If Wikepedia, Christianity Today and 3400 Protestant leaders find him so influencial my guess is these "people" are in fact few in number and not something to be concerned about at all.

tim said...

Sorry, if you just read this series of comments you are exactly right - This was a little jab at Corrie, who in a previous writing had mentioned he was preaching the previous Sunday and also in a previous post said he didn't know who Nouwen was.

timC said...

DOH!!! Context is everything. Now I understand.

Corrie said...

tim, you're too smart to be erecting straw-men.

Your references to Nouwen are, as timC pointed out, non-sequitur. So I've never heard of him. So shoot me.

I did NOT call him gay or liberal. I said he was popular in the liberal wing of the church. I get that from the reference that he's considered influential in mainline Protestant denominations. Most of the mainline bodies are liberal both politically and theologically.

As far as his sexual orientation goes, we all have issues. I believe I discussed this in a reply to one of your previous comments. I personally don't make a big deal out of it - desires are different than actions, though the Catholic teaching of my youth said otherwise. What I SAID was, if evangelicals - and I mean the folks in the pews like me, not seminary graduates such as yourself - have not read John Paul, why would they have read Nouwen?

Context, indeed.

tim said...

You are wrong - I am NOT that smart - lol. I still think it's a legitimate point and thanks to Tim C for introducing the straw man concept. If you had said that initially I may of accepted it, but you instead yout took the road of trying to marginalize Nouwen as a relatively minor Christian writer/thinker, which is of course absurd.

A good friend prior to the last presidential election said to me "I'll be so glad when this is over so we can back to worshipping God instead of George Bush." I think it speaks volumes about our Churches and evangelical Christianity that we (and there are a lot of you out there) know more about the Hugh Hewitts and Rush Limbaughs doctrines than the Henri Nouwens. AW Tozers or even the John Pipers of the world.

Corrie said...

Tim, read carefully. I did not "marginalize Nouwen as a minor writer/thinker." I pointed out that as a Catholic writer, it was unlikely that many in-the-pew Evangelicals would have heard of him. That's a very different argument.

I'm familiar with a fair number of evangelical thinkers, such as Stott, Shaeffer, Graham, Lewis, Packer - and John Piper was my pastor. But I've never heard of Nouwen and suspect that few members of the churches I've attended have either.

You bringing up Rush is another straw-man. I don't listen to his show, never have. I think I've heard an hour of it once, on a road trip. He seemed rather full of himself IMO.

You have a valid point about the alliance between the political conservatives and religious conservatives. Many years ago I wrote an essay outlining why Christianity and right-wing politics didn't mix well. Political conservativism stresses individual effort. Christianity is about receiving unearned grace. The first disciples lived in a commune, for crying out loud.


I don't want a theocracy, at least not until Christ Himself returns. And at the ballot box, I have to decide which party is going to be more likely to govern in a manner that I agree with. The Left - which controls the Democratic party today - is clearly in favor of abortion and euthanasia, surrender to terrorists, the banning of all public expressions of faith, and the redefinition of the institutions of marriage and family. Oh, yeah, they also want peace, social justice, environmentla protection (at the cost of national security) and universal health care. Great and noble ideas, but at what cost? The failure to take seriously the threat posed by radical Islam is fundamental.

For all its many faults, the GOP stands much closer to my values. I may hold my nose when I pull the lever, but it's better to hold my nose than cut it off.