Some of you who are new to Alpha and Omega Ministries might not know that a number of years ago I had the privilege of debating Barry Lynn, ACLU attorney and head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Lynn is an ordained minister in one of the most liberal denominations in the world. We debated whether homosexuality is compatible with biblical Christianity, and, like John Shelby Spong a few years later, Lynn showed up to such a debate without a Bible. Here is a sample of the exchange:
After the debate (which, in his closing statement, Lynn admitted he had lost), Lynn informed us that he would not allow the videos to be distributed. When we began to do so, he sent us a cease and desist letter, threatening to file suit in the 9th Circuit (where else?). With the help of the Alliance Defense Fund, we filed suit first, in Virginia, the proper location where copyright issues should be decided, and the location which also had jurisdiction over the place of the original debate (New York). The day before our attorneys were to start taking depositions, Lynn gave in. We found it ironic, of course, that someone who would speak so highly of free speech rights would attempt to use litigation to attempt to suppress the record of a public debate, but, what I learned then was this: free speech is only for those on the left, not anyone else. And we surely see that on every hand today as well.
In any case, you might find the entire debate very useful to watch. You can obtain it here.
I have found it interesting to follow Lynn’s public escapades since then, and this morning a truly stellar persona, the great and incomparable Mylo Hatzenbuhler himself, pointed me to an article about Lynn. I had no idea the Obama administration had given Lynn a position, though, of course, given Lynn’s radical views, that is hardly surprising. Radicalism is the new orthodoxy in Washington. But given how strongly Lynn had criticized the very office he is now a part of, listening to his tortured reasoning in defense of his hypocrisy is, well, educational:
Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was a vocal critic of Mr. Bush’s faith-based office. Now, under Mr. Obama, he serves on the advisory council’s task force to improve the functioning of the office. Explaining his turnaround, he said he doesn’t view Mr. Obama’s office as partisan — the way Mr. Bush’s was. But acknowledging that there was no substantive difference between the offices yet, Mr. Lynn said: “We have a guarded optimism that when the advisory council, Justice and the White House act and get down to the nitty gritty, they will make this a constitutionally protected program. However, we have no proof of that and no guarantee.”