Dan Brown debates Brian Brown in YouTube video about his remarks at national high school journalism convention in Seattle

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Yesterday, The New York Times published an article about a debate that was staged for YouTube between the keynote speaker of the national high school journalism convention in Seattle who attacked the Bible as the root of much anti-gay bullying,  and originator of “It Gets Better” and the president of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay marriage advocacy organization.

Read the full The The New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/garden/dan-savage-and-brian-brown-debate-gay-marriage-over-the-dinner-table.html?_r=2

Watch the YouTube video here: http://youtu.be/oG804t0WG-c

After Dinner, the Fireworks

Published: August 22, 2012

THE ancient Greek symposium, which combined drinking with elevated discussion, was often held in a private house; at Parisian salons, conversation frequently took place in the bedroom. Once upon a time, intellectuals knew they could do their best thinking at home, not in a public venue, and that debate would be helped along by food and drink.

But is such gemütlichkeit possible in this country in 2012, when our young century has already been strafed by culture wars and juvenile attack ads? Last week, four of us put it to the test.

The Dinner Table Debate, as we are calling it, was set in motion last April, when Dan Savage, the sex columnist and originator of “It Gets Better,” an anti-bullying campaign, gave a speech to a high school journalism convention here, attacking the Bible as the root of much anti-gay bullying.

We can learn to ignore the nonsense in the Bible about gay people the same way we have learned to ignore what the Bible says “about shellfish, about slavery,” he told them, referring to Paul’s injunction that slaves should obey their masters.

As some students walked out, Mr. Savage taunted them: “It’s funny, as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed people react when you push back.”

Two weeks later, Brian S. Brown, a conservative Catholic who is president of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay-marriage advocacy organization, issued a challenge to Mr. Savage on the group’s blog: “You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I’m here, you name the time and the place and let’s see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back.”

On May 22, Mr. Savage responded in his weekly podcast, offering to hold the debate at his dining room table, in his home in Seattle. “Bring the wife, my husband will be there,” he said. “You have to acknowledge my humanity by accepting my hospitality, and I have to acknowledge yours by extending my hospitality to you.”

There would be dinner, with the debate to follow. That’s where I came in: a journalist with pro-gay sympathies, but a history of writing extensively about both sides in the marriage fight, I was chosen to moderate.

After some e-mailing back and forth, the three of us agreed on a date, Aug. 15, and Mr. Savage appointed a chef, his neighbor John Colwell, a heterosexual stay-at-home father of four and a gifted cook. I corralled a video crew, and began studying books on same-sex marriage (Jay Michaelson’s “God vs. Gay?” and Maggie Gallagher and John Corvino’s “Debating Same-Sex Marriage,” among others). Then I booked a flight to Seattle from my home in New Haven.


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Dan Brown debates Brian Brown in YouTube video about his remarks at national high school journalism convention in Seattle