Dear Mr. Carlson,
I would like to challenge you to a debate regarding the state of Christianity in Ukraine today. Why? As this issue is central to the relationship we have with Ukraine, and several misconceptions that you proffer on the subject are gaining traction, a debate seems to offer an appropriate way to set the record straight.
You see, I’ve shot two documentaries in Ukraine since March 2022, largely with Ukrainian Christians. As you are raising questions about religious liberty in Ukraine – even going so far as to say they are being persecuted by their government – you are diminishing support for a key ally that is simply fighting for their liberties and independence, just like 18th century American patriots.
I can assure you that freedom of religion is alive and well in Ukraine as anyone can see in my new documentary “Back to Bucha”. The film lets Ukrainian Christians speak for themselves. That is why I have but one condition for my request. The film must first be screened for the debate audience.
You pick the venue, time, and format.
I’ll meet you anytime, anywhere. If I may be so bold though, let me offer a few suggestions:
How about Ukraine? Kyiv, Lviv, and Bucha are where I’ve spent most of my time there though I am planning to go beyond Bucha to shoot a third documentary. I’m sure they would welcome you with open arms. I know you’ve recently visited Hungary but don’t think you’ve been to Ukraine recently. You’ll love it!
You might also consider Moscow given how popular I’m thinking you must be there. You would need to assure me I wouldn’t be arrested though. Given that one apparently can’t even say what’s happening in Ukraine is a war I’m afraid my two films alone might get me imprisoned before uttering a word.
An equally friendly environment for us to try might be any of the mega-churches throughout the South and Texas that I recently toured. The Alamo Church would also present a rather dramatic venue given the similar sentiments I’m sure the old Texicans and Ukrainians share. The First Baptist Church of Farmersville outside Dallas would also be great and is the home church of the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s a more rural setting.
Perhaps New Haven, given the deep New England roots we both share. We could reach out to Yale and see if they might want to host the debate under the auspices of the Buckley Institute. As I am a former seminarian at the Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal Seminary at Yale (haven’t graduated), we could even ask them though I’m not sure of their enthusiasm given the unfavorable views you apparently hold against your cradle church. I’m also thinking you might draw some rather large protests, so we had better have a Plan B. How about your home church in California?
Well, wherever you choose we could broadcast it on X too if you like.
Why am I doing this?
Personally, I have nothing to lose as just being on the same platform with you would instantly increase my standing, which I would use to promote my new film and Ukrainian causes I’ve encountered along the way. It would also be a celebration of the freedoms we take for granted and Ukrainians are literally dying for. But in the end, I just want folks to watch the film and help trim the tide of disinformation about Christianity in Ukraine. For you the reasons would be very different, but I figure a suitable level of publicity might help bring you to the table. Good fodder for TuckerCarlson.com at least.
I am perhaps uniquely qualified to bring an American Christian’s perspective to this issue given the films, and posts I’ve authored for TheoEco’s mailing list. These include pieces about America’s lessons for Ukraine from its own revolution. For example, a new essay about the Church of England in Revolutionary America - and possible lessons for Ukraine - is in the works. As an aside I recently traced my roots to a 1700’s loyalist Church of England pastor in Dedham, MA. Like many Anglican clergy at the time, he was arrested and much worse. Echoes indeed heard in the arrests of Russian affiliated Orthodox priests in Ukraine, though many American patriots were far less understanding, particularly in New England.
And here I always imagined myself a Minuteman. How about you? Oh well…
I didn’t start off to Ukraine in March 2022 to meet Christians. I went to document nuclear power plants and the Russian caused fire at the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant. (You can watch my first Ukrainian film Trek to Bucha for more.) By the way, I’ve produced six documentaries on subjects as diverse as flooding in South Florida to earthquake recovery in Nepal. I’m also producing a film on the 500+ year history of guns in South Florida. I am Miami based and a member of the National Muzzleloaders Rifle Association. I will also turn 63 next month.
Of course, I understand you are unlikely to debate me as I am not famous. Besides no one likes to be shown to be wrong.
That being said, you are a professional debater of sorts and will likely overwhelm my debate skills. But at least a few more folks will see the film and make up their own minds.
So, what do you say? Willing to take a quixotic flyer and debate me? I hope so.