Ryan Anderson may be the most courageous person in America. Who would willingly place himself in the company of Piers Morgan and Suze Orman for the sole purpose of being their punching bag – something he had to know was going to be the case going in.
I forced myself to watch this video all the way through, and have to confess to having a visceral reaction to its contents: from frustration, to unease, to anger.
Mr. Anderson is not even extended the courtesy of being given a seat at the desk with the host and his other, obviously preferred, guest. He is not given the courtesy of being able to finish his sentences. He is not given the courtesy of the assumption of good faith. Instead he is the victim of moral preening (“I feel compassion for you”) and sneering derision.
In some ways, I find it all emblematic. Part of the liberal project is to marginalize religious belief, push it to the side, either through privatization or through redefinition. Putting Mr. Anderson among hostile audience members, not according him even basic respect, indicates that the host really isn’t committed to the virtues of democratic discourse. Whatever the merits on this particular issue, a few things ought to be clear:
- In the conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, the former will be happily sacrificed. Once same-sex marriage receives legal sanction, religious organizations will face overwhelming coercive pressure to abide by such.
- One reason why public attitudes have shifted so rapidly on this issue is that the same-sex marriage movement has craftily couched the debate as one involving basic American “values,” as a new civil rights movement: equality, liberty, the harm principle, and toleration. Unless the Christian churches can provide a comprehensive response which both interprets and incorporates more holistically these claims, they will lose the public argument. The cost of losing will not be benign, for traditional Christians will then be regarded as not committed to those principles, and will either be forced to the edges, coerced into compliance, and/or excluded from the discourse altogether.
- The arguments before the Supreme Court are designed to accomplish precisely the latter: convince the Court to move preëmptively so as to bypass dissenting voices in public conversation.
- Once same-sex marriage is licit, the next move will be to endorse any form of sexual congress justified by “the love” of the participants.
- Those who “cling bitterly” to their old-fashioned ideas about marriage will be mocked, berated and, inevitably, legally sanctioned.
- Those of us in the Catholic tradition may have reason to be especially concerned: many of the advocates of so-called liberal democracy believe the Church to be anathema to their project. Piers Morgan may be an uninspiring representative of this, but he does represent a powerful impetus.
- I wonder what the reaction would be if the roles were reversed: if two “traditionalists” had sat on stage and treated a gay person the way Mr. Anderson was treated. Actually, I don’t have to wonder.
- Mr. Morgan’s treatment of Mr. Anderson gives lie to his claim that he believes in equality, liberty, and toleration.
This story will not end when the Supreme Court makes its decision. That will be only the beginning. How many of us will have the courage and equipoise of Mr. Anderson under those circumstances?