Resolved: An Islamic cultural center should be built near Ground Zero.They were incensed that the matter should even be debated, and at a complete loss to fathom arguing the Con.
As I'd already given thought to most of the reasons to disallow the "Ground Zero mosque," and hadn't been persuaded by any of them, I was a bit flummoxed, too, until I thought of a way for the Con to argue without sounding bigoted: to define "should" as a moral imperative, and then place a burden on the Pro to prove that society has a moral duty to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero. My guess is that many Pro teams would mostly be arguing for the right to build the center--not the duty, and would fail to meet the burden. Anyhow, it was the best hope I saw for the Con at least having a tiny chance to win in a particularly liberal region of the country.
All that's unnecessary now, since the NFL has retracted the topic. Via email:
Overwhelming concerns have been expressed by our membership regarding the November 2010 resolution. The Public Forum wording advisory committee worked diligently and thoughtfully to create a timely resolution. However, after due consideration, the National Forensic League has changed the November 2010 Public Forum resolution.I applaud the decision--and I really like the topic.
We realize that it is unusual to change a topic after posting. We hope that this new resolution will allow educators and competitors to explore core issues that face high school academic debate.
The November 2010 Public Forum resolution is
Resolved: High school Public Forum Debate resolutions should not confront sensitive religious issues.Sincerely,
J. Scott Wunn
Update: ...and here's how Washington state has resolved the matter.