How to debate with decorum … and why profane, vulgar arguments reveal weak arguments & minds


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Read the transcript:

TIME OF DANGEROUS DIALOGUE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, Frank Bruni, who writes for The New York Times recently opined that, “We are in a dangerous place when it comes to how we view, treat and talk about people we disagree with. Madonna fantasizes about blowing up the White House, Kathy Griffin displays a likeness of Donald Trump’s severed head and so-called protests at Berkley, Evergreen State and Mulberry College erupt into violence and property destruction.” What’s interesting about these comments is Frank Bruni is a self-described gay liberal.

Harry, we see over and over again, civility and decorum are disappearing.

PUBLIC SQUARES STILL NEED TRUTH AND DECORUM

DR. REEDER: In its place: profanity and vulgarity-laced declarations and shouts, invectives and the loss of any civil discourse in the public square. Tom, as I mentioned in a previous program, I was invited to a forum concerning an ordinance that is being considered in a rather small southern town. One of the key aspects of the town is a university that’s there and I was told, of course, that the students were going to come and, likely, be protests and that there were plans to shout down the forum speakers.

I, literally, received a number of emails asking me to, “Consider whether you ought to come or not.” “Well, I’m going to come and I’m going to talk and I’m going to try to approach this in an appropriate way that honors the decorum that a nation that honors free speech ought to embrace.”

And so, I came and, let me say that, yes, there were a few hecklers but, by and large, it was well-done and the students were well-behaved but the fact that the shadow loomed over it… Trying to think back to my college days, whenever we would have discussions about matters of morality, ethics, and religion, there was, basically, the rules of decorum and public discourse in terms of how things are handled.

WHY THE EXTREME ZEALOTRY AND PROFANITY?

The shouting down, the yelling, the profanity, the marginalization – now, why is that there? Well, No. 1, you need to understand that there is a religious zealotry to the secular humanist position and the ruling out of any claims of divinity over life.

It comes back to, “We will not have God to rule over us and every man wants to do what’s right in his own eyes.” This becomes a zealous movement in which you want no competition – you want to rid the public square of any claims of divine majesty, divine sovereignty, divine authority over our lives – and that is a passionate commitment to remove that.

Therefore, anyone who comes as an ambassador of Jesus Christ or who comes with just general claims of religion is automatically dismissed. The fact that people are “incurably religious” is seen as a defect to eradicate in the world instead of a freedom to protect and, therefore, you want to clean out any references to religion in society.

And then this life that is lived out from under the claims of God, secular humanism – man is the measure of all things – that becomes something that is a passionate commitment and its success is the eradication of any competition of communication in terms of how we ought to be living and any notion that there is a “how we ought to live.” There is no “how we ought to live” – the only thing that ought to rule is, “I can do what I want to in life.”

Now, that’s nonsensical, it’s chaotic, it’s destructive but that position is so insensible and so irrational of secular humanism that it not only wants to eradicate any competitive ideas, it cannot stand the competition of ideas.

My father, early on, taught me something: The evidence of profanity is either the result of a weak mind or a weak argument. I would say that there may be an exception to that, but that is a generally factual observation. A weak mind – “I don’t have the ability to talk with you and so I’m going to verbally assault you” – or the argument is so weak – “I have no ability to win the argument so I want to remove the person that I’m talking with.”

ARE TRADITIONAL DEBATES DEAD ON CAMPUS?

TOM LAMPRECHT:  To that end, Harry, Steve Salerno of The Wall Street Journal tells of a formal academic debate final at Towsend University back in 2014 in which students ignored the resolution on foreign policy to instead give a profanity-laden rant about racism in American society and they won the debate.

DR. REEDER: And, amazingly, that was given the first place prize. Tom, once again, let me just make the point: Either the person is incapable of the meaningful conversation, therefore, you resort to profanity and vulgarity and volume to shout people down, to marginalize them, to set them aside, to embarrass them and that’s the only way that you can win it.

That is also rooted in what we call the ad hominem attack – that is, you can’t deal with the concepts that are being talked about and you can’t deal with the arguments, so you attack the person. And, if you attack the person, you think you’ve won the day when, in reality, you haven’t won anything – you’ve just attacked someone verbally, but we have already noticed that verbal attacks eventually lead to the physical attacks upon people because they cannot enter into the discourse.

HOW TO DEBATE

On the other hand, communities and nations are blessed when there is decorum in the conversation. What keeps a boxing match from becoming a brawl? Well, it’s called “Lord Queensbury’s Rules.” Well, we ought to have rules for conversation as well.

Here’s what the Bible says to us: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from out of your mouth, but only such a word that is good for edification according to the need of the moment.” It certainly can be a word with passion. It certainly can be a word of contradiction to what the other person is saying in a discussion, but it’s ultimately for edification, coming to a conclusion, dealing with the ideas and attempting to expose ideas to the sunshine of a conversation with decorum and clarity.

We need to remember the people we talk to are made in the image of God and, therefore, ought to be treated with dignity and respect – that’s the way we ought to do it – so we need to become models of that. As our society descends into this loss of public discourse, we need to become both the models of public discourse, where our language and our communication – our volume, our tone – and everything that we say, right words in the right way at the right time for the right reason – that we need to become models of this.

“Well-chosen words are like apples of gold and settings of silver,” so we need to be those whose language is attractive, does communicate, “Yes, it’s not wrong to win the idea, but you want to win the idea in a way that you win people, even the person with whom you disagree.” I believe that such an approach to conversation in the public square over a period of time actually becomes winsome.

THERE CAN BE CIVILITY AND COMMUNITY-BUILDING

The forum that I was in this last week in which the warnings came, and because of the way the moderator handled it and the, by and large, because everybody – both pro and con on the ordinance that was being discussed and debated in the forum – as all of that was taking place, when people left, I have received many, many emails and comments – I love to hear this word – “It was a constructive time and we want to thank those who participated. Not simply the four speakers on the forum – we want to thank those who participated in the audience and in the after program of Q&A and discussions that went on as well.”

And people went away, some with the debate having changed their perspectives or added to it, but it was so good that people went away with a sense of accomplishment. We had a forum with decorum – that is the way we ought to live our lives day by day in conversation after conversation.

Tom, what a glorious privilege it is to win souls, not only with the words, but the way the words are spoken. And I do pray that God would allow that kind of discourse to be returned to our society.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

21 mins ago

Steve Marshall travels to D.C. to urge Senate to reject Trump impeachment articles

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday traveled to Washington, D.C. to file a blistering 14-page “friend of the Senate” letter urging the upper chamber to reject the two articles of impeachment filed against President Donald J. Trump.

The Senate on Tuesday began the impeachment trial of Trumps, and Marshall joined 20 of his Republican attorneys general from across the nation in signing the letter.

However, Marshall was only one of six of the attorneys general invited to the U.S. Capitol to attend a press conference Wednesday commenting on their letter and the impeachment trial.

Of the letter, Marshall remarked, “It is thorough. It is a full examination of both the facts and the law that the Senate has to apply. But despite that significant analysis, fundamentally what that letter is about is the idea of fairness — or maybe better said, the lack of fairness.”

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“As a prosecutor for 20 years, what I’ve seen is an unfair process brings about an unjust result,” Marshall advised. “And that is what the Senate now has an opportunity to stop.”

“I also find it remarkable, as somebody who has stood before juries and judges, whose brought charging instruments against defendants, to now hear the House say that they are not prepared. And that they are not ready. What that simply shows is not that they are not prepared but that they have no case,” he continued. “Our letter demonstrates the various reasons why the Senate should reject this effort, and we need to return the president back to the work of this country…”

Watch:

In a tweet referencing the letter, Marshall called the articles of impeachment passed by House Democrats against Trump “unfounded and fundamentally flawed.”

The letter states, “If not expressly repudiated by the Senate, the theories animating both Articles will set a precedent that is entirely contrary to the Framers’ design and ruinous to the most important governmental structure protections contained in our Constitution: the separation of powers.”

Read the letter below:

State AG letter to Senate o… by Fox News on Scribd

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

41 mins ago

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele inks three-year extension

Auburn University head football coach Gus Malzahn on Wednesday announced that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has officially agreed to a new three-year contract that will take him through the 2022 season.

In a statement, Malzahn said, “Kevin has done a fantastic job with our defense the last four years making it one of the best in the country.”

“This will provide great stability and leadership for our defense in the future. I’m appreciative of Kevin’s hard work,” he added.

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Steele has been Auburn’s defensive coordinator for the last four years. During that tenure, the Tigers’ defense has ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense. Additionally, Auburn is one of only five FBS programs to hold opponents under 20 points per game in each of those seasons.

Malzahn and Steele were both spotted at Senior Bowl Week practice in Mobile on Tuesday.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

God almighty, take the vote and get it over with

During the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton for perjury, which he totally and obviously committed, an unemployed carpenter from Wisconsin rose from the gallery and demanded the U.S. Senate get the show on the road.

“God almighty, take the vote and get it over with!” Richard Douglas Llamas bellowed to the assembled members of Congress, telling them to do their job of holding their vote and moving on with America’s business.

He ended up spending 24 hours in jail for his outburst and was ordered to stay away from the impeachment hearings.

The media referred to him as “the voice of the people” and a “hero.”

Would they treat him as one today?

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Absolutely not. They would destroy his career and life. They would call him racist, comb through his social media and seek a way to connect him to the Russians.

But, make no mistake, this man would be a hero.

It doesn’t matter how many hours they spend on this farce, how many people watch or how outraged the media and their Democrats get over it, there will be no minds changed and President Donald Trump will still be the president when this is over.

Congress needs to hold their stupid show vote, fail to get their two-thirds votes and get on with the people’s business.

Where is our Richard Douglas Llamas?

America needs a hero like him right now.

Watch media coverage of this outburst (42 second mark):

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

2 hours ago

Jerry Carl releases first TV ad in AL-01 GOP primary, significant buy forthcoming

MOBILE — The race to succeed Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) in Coastal Alabama is heating up.

Yellowhammer News on Wednesday obtained Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl’s first television ad of the cycle.

Entitled, “Just Jerry,” the video ad utilizes an off-screen narrator throughout its 30 seconds of run time.

Transcript as follows:

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Raised by a single mother, Jerry Carl headed to college but left to start a business. Then another. And another.

He married and raised a family and was saved by grace.

A tough upbringing and business struggles made Jerry the man he is.

Like President Trump, Jerry Carl’s got a backbone. He’s tired of political correctness and will fight ‘The Squad.’

He’s never the loudest, but he’s the toughest.

He’s just Jerry.

A source directly familiar informed Yellowhammer that the ad buy will be “substantial,” falling “well into the six figure range.”

The ad will run across several standard mediums in the district, including both cable and broadcast television, as well as digital. The buy is expected to last 10 days.

Carl has built a significant cash advantage in the race, both through money raised and money he has loaned to his own campaign. As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, Carl had $741,307 cash-on-hand. This compared favorably to the other top contenders in Alabama’s First Congressional District. Former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) had $447,611 on hand, while State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) reported $215,437 available. Fundraising reports covering the final quarter of 2019 are due January 31.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Carl campaign manager Zach Weidlich said, “Jerry Carl was raised by a single mother and that upbringing made him the man he is today. He’s built several businesses by relying on his Christian faith and rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work.”

“Like Trump, Jerry is tough, he has a backbone, and he won’t back down to political correctness. If south Alabama wants someone who will protect our values and stand with Trump, Jerry Carl is their guy,” he concluded.

The primary will be held on March 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

UAB, St. Vincent’s enter into ‘strategic alliance’ to better serve patients

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Health System is entering into a partnership with its across-town neighbor Ascension St. Vincent’s to provide better outcomes for patients. The two hospital systems announced the news jointly via a press release on Wednesday.

Details are still scarce as to the particularities of what this will mean for patients, and the deal is still pending approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

The information available indicates that patients at one institution will have access to some services and doctors at the other without the normal amount of red tape in between. The two hospitals are touting the alliance’s ability to open up opportunities for “those who need highly specialized care.”

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“Through closer alignment of each organization’s many locations, specialties and expertise, the health systems will strive to better accommodate patients,” said UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany.

According to the website set up to inform the public about the alliance, the two hospitals’ medical records will stay separate, and no doctor will be changing locations as part of the new alliance.

“Ascension St. Vincent’s and the UAB Health System have a longstanding, very positive relationship,” said Jason Alexander, CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s and Ascension Providence, and senior vice president, Ascension. “We look forward to continuing to build on the complementary strengths of both organizations to serve the increasing needs of residents across our state.

As follows are the facilities that will be a part of the alliance: 

UABHS:

UAB Hospital
University of Alabama Health Services Foundation
Medical West Hospital
Callahan Eye Hospital, Clinics and Ophthalmology Services Foundation
Gardendale Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) and Clinics
Highway 150 Clinics and Medical West Freestanding Emergency Department
Acton Road
Primary Care Network

Ascension St. Vincent’s:

Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham
Ascension St. Vincent’s East
Ascension St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair
Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton
Ascension St. Vincent’s Blount
Ascension St. Vincent’s Trussville
Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Group

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.