Over the weekend, you may have missed an epic debate that aired on FOX News between Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
The two couldn't stand further apart from one another on the ideological and theological spectrum, which was illustrated when they clashed in a tense on-air debate over the presence of a Jesus statue on federal land in Montana. In addition to this subject, the two tussled over the presence of Moses in the U.S. Supreme Court as well. The situation was so intense that Gaylor, clearly overwhelmed by Sekulow's opinions on church-state issues, resorted to calling her opponent "a bully" who misinforms the public.
There's a reason FOX chose to bring these individuals in to debate the Jesus statue. To begin, the FFRF, an atheist group, has been the main force behind an attempt to have the relic removed from federal lands, while the ACLJ, a right-leaning, pro-faith legal non-profit, has been the primary source working against the atheist groups' actions (the latter organization helped gather 70,000 signatures in support of the statue).
Gaylor began by making a case for her group's attempts to ban the statue from federal grounds.
"We are charging that this is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and an improper use of federal land that excludes those of us who are Christian, who are not Catholic -- the 15 percent of us who are non-religious should not be having to support a shrine to Jesus on federal land," she said.
Jordan, though, predictably took a very different view.
"This is the same group that is against 'under God' in the pledge, the national motto, 'In God We Trust,' the National Day of Prayer -- I'm sure would like to sandblast some religious references we have here all over Washington, D.C. -- maybe Moses from the Supreme Court and the 10 Commandments."
This is where the dialogue took an interesting turn, as Gaylor interrupted Sekolow to proclaim, "Moses isn't in the Supreme Court, Jordan."
As the ACLJ has pointed out on its blog, Gaylor is incorrect. Moses' image is actually present on the building a number of times. Following the interview, Sekulow wrote:
As an attorney, I deal with the facts, so here they are. Moses appears not once, but at least four times in and on the Supreme Court building: on the East Pediment of the exterior, in the South Courtroom frieze, a West Façade medallion, and as one of the metopes of the Great Hall of the Court.
The awkward interview continued, with Gaylor and Sekulow talking over one another.
"You have interrupted me quite a bit," Gaylor proclaimed. "You have misinformed the public."
The debate ends, somewhat stunningly, with the atheist leader saying, "What a bully he is!"
Watch the discussion, below:
This interview may remind you of a December FOX segment during which host Eric Bolling kicked FFRF co-president (and Gaylor's husband) Dan Barker off of his program. As you may remember, Barker had insulted Christianity.
Now that Gaylor has been corrected regarding the presence of Moses, one wonders: Will the FFRF now rail against his appearances in the Supreme Court? Considering the group's past targets, it's a valid question.