Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson, Defender of the Faith, has squandered an Ivy League education. In today’s National Review piece, titled Yes, Threats to Religious Liberty Happen Here, Anderson starts:

Some on the left are criticizing Senator Ted Cruz’s recent comments about how the drive to redefine marriage may threaten religious freedom — but a closer inspection of the issue reveals his worries were accurate, prescient, and maybe even too cautious.

The reliably nutty Ted Cruz said that
clergy who refuse to marry same-sex couples could be accused of engaging
in hate speech. Cruz claimed that this was happening in other countries.

Cruz is certifiably crazy and Anderson, a presumed Opus Deist, is blinded by faith.

Anderson is not concerned for religious liberty. Mr. Anderson wants to use a manufactured concern for religious liberty as a weapon to thwart marriage equality.

According to Mr. Anderson:

Advocates of redefining marriage contend that the First Amendment
ensures that pastors, priests, and other clergy in America will remain
free to preach what they want to — they will never be forced to
celebrate a same-sex wedding, and liberals suggest that this is the
extent of the challenge to religious liberty posed by the redefinition
of marriage. 

If this guy wants to write a serious article then he should leave the demagoguery and semantics behind. Nobody is an advocate of redefining marriage. Same-sex marriage doesn’t do that. And, yes, the overwhelming majority of legal scholars agree that the First Amendment protects clergy. Whether it is Westboro Baptist or the white supremacist Christian Identity Church, the First Amendment provides them with freedom to spout their hate. Indeed, the First Amendment equally protects secular organizations.

Anderson continues:

To the contrary, if marriage is redefined, then a belief that
marriage is the union of a man and a woman ordered to procreation and
family life — a notion once shared by virtually every human society —
would increasingly be characterized as an irrational prejudice that
ought to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for
religious believers are becoming apparent.

Anderson has lost the ability to write a scholarly sentence. Furthermore, prejudice is, by definition, irrational. In Massachusetts there is an anti-gay hate group (Mass Resistance) that has operated longer than the state has recognized same-sex marriage. They are completely irrational. They still hold demonstrations, have websites and communicate with supporters — from an equal marriage state. Moreover, the federal government recognizes the organization as tax-exempt.

Anderson engages in the usual litany of victims; The same half-dozen or so that we keep hearing about. Some are not in equal marriage states. All of them have violated anti-discrimination ordinances for public accommodations that have nothing whatsoever to do with marriage. None are clergy. Thereafter:

In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”

Anderson is referring to a Becket paper that is nearly five years old. The purpose of this paper was to argue in support of what they called “conscientious objectors.” That’s not going to happen. The reason that is not going to happen is because it would completely nullify virtually every non-discrimination law in existence starting with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

All that anyone has to say to defend any form of discrimination is that they are acting in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs. The Ku Klux Klan claims to be a Christian organization. That is precisely why the concept of “public accommodations” is deeply ingrained in our public policy.

But that’s all irrelevant.

Mr. Anderson knows that Cruz has some short circuits in his wiring. He also understands the freedoms and limits of religious liberty. He is using this as a means of promoting marriage discrimination and that is his agenda.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.