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One is softball, the other hardball.
As Christians, we have been force-fed social pacifism for over 50 years. We've been trained to "nice" people into Christianity, because if we're not nice, they might not join our club.
Was Miss California "nice" in her answer? She was polite. She was professional. She answered the question within the framework and context of the setting in which it was asked - a beauty pageant. Even the questioner, Perez Hilton, notorious for angry screeds, asked the question in a polite, professional manner, albeit weighted. ("Do you think ALL other states SHOULD follow suit?" Subliminal language choices, much?) The Q&A sections have never been about a contestant's actual answer, but about the delivery of the answer. So what did she do? She answered the question honestly - stumbled a bit, true - but in a manner reflecting the situation she was in.
The Colbert situation was entirely different. In this situation, we weren't talking about a social issue, but the very nature of Christianity, and it brought out the bear in Colbert. It should bring out the bear in you, too. His guest, Ehrman, was snide, factually incorrect, and assaulting Christianity. Colbert didn't take it.
Both of these reflect Christ-like responses to similar situations. Miss California echoes Jesus with the Woman at the Well. He didn't attack her lifestyle, but lovingly brought her to face what she already knew in her heart - that it was wrong. Perez Hilton lashed out because he thought asking a Miss California this question was going to be a cakewalk. He was wrong, and it struck a deeper nerve within his heart, thus prompting the vicious personal attack.
Ehrhart was not only attacking the institute of Christianity, he took the same stance the Pharisees in Jesus' day took - that Jesus wasn't the divine Son of God, only a man. And how did Jesus respond? How about "den of vipers," "whitewashed tombs." Try that today and see if someone doesn't shoot you in the back for name-calling.
What's the point of all this? The point is that we as Christians always need to be ready to give a defense of our faith, both Scripturally and factually accurate as well as emotionally and situationally responsive. So often today a pastor can't even give an invitation without saying "I don't mean to hurt your feelings" 11 times.
It might hurt someone's feelings to point out that they connected the brakes on their car wrong, but it's better than the alternative, isn't it?
“If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the solider is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” ~ Martin Luther