Friday, April 11, 2014

Ryan T. Anderson - Vigorous (and tedious) Defender of the Faith

Ryan T. Anderson
There is nothing that Ryan T. Andrson will not say or do – no matter how absurd – in support of the Church. Anderson, who is one of Robby George's creatures, is associated with numerous conservative Catholic organizations including Witherspoon Institute. His day job seems to be as a functionary for the Heritage Foundation.

Earlier this month Mr. Anderson (did he take the “blue pill”?) wrote “Is Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage at All Like Opposition to Interracial Marriage? No.” In addition to answering his own rhetorical question this is yet another exercise in intellectual dishonesty. Anderson tries to alter the comparison to segregation:
Bans on interracial marriage and Jim Crow laws, by contrast, were aspects of a much larger insidious movement that denied the fundamental equality and dignity of all human beings and forcibly segregated citizens. When these interracial marriage bans first arose in the American colonies, they were inconsistent not only with the common law inherited from England, but also with the customs of prior world history, which had not banned interracial marriage.
That take on world history is not entirely true. For periods within the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries France had similar anti-miscegenation laws. Furthermore, Mr. Anderson fails to appreciate that, due to the economics of slavery, this was a uniquely American issue. These laws originated in Europe and were imposed by European colonialists in the 1660's — more than 100 years before independence. France, by the way, prohibited Catholic residents of Louisiana from marrying non-Catholics. While interracial marriage bans began in Virginia and Maryland, the eventually took hold in states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Yet, this is all irrelevant.

The comparison, between bans on interracial marriage and same-sex marriage, is based upon American jurisprudence. In the criminal trial that was the predicate to Loving v. Virginia the trial judge claimed that God intended for the races to be separate. Both segregation and anti-gay laws have their roots in conservative Christianity. Mr. Anderson, who is presumably a member of Opus Dei, would impose this form of discrimination in service to the Church. More importantly, in Loving the Supreme Court ruled that marriage to the person of one's choice is a basic civil right. More recently, Justice Kennedy cited Loving as an example of impermissible state conduct in his opinion, for the majority, in United States v. Windsor.

Fortunately, American Catholics support marriage equality in proportions greater than the general public. Mr. Anderson is preaching to a shrinking minority of citizens who fail to honor American traditions of fairness and equality.
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