Anti-Gay Advocate Reveals It’s Not About Religious Freedom After All

Rob Tisinai

February 28th, 2014

Are all these religious freedom bills really about religious freedom? And by that I mean the principle of religious freedom — freedom for everyone, not just for members of the anti-gay tribe. Apparently for Ryan Anderson, the Heritage Foundation’s expert on marriage, the answer is a resounding NO — religious freedom is not the issue.

A lovely aspect of Twitter is the way it enforces bluntness. Sure, the 140-character limit wipes out any shot at subtlety or nuance, but it also spares us the onslaught of rhetoric that people so often use to wrap ugly views in a soft, gauzy glow. Look at this exchange on Ryan’s twitter feed. The first message is someone challenging Ryan on his discrimination argument, followed by Ryan’s reply.

@IngrahamAngle @RyanT_Anderson Since when is not being refused service by a for-profit business because of who you are a “special right”?

— Ian Thompson (@iantDC) February 27, 2014

@iantDC @IngrahamAngle you have no right to have anyone bake you a wedding cake.

— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanT_Anderson) February 27, 2014

@RyanT_Anderson @IngrahamAngle Bakeries aren’t able to turn away interracial couples. Why is anti-gay discrimination more acceptable?

— Ian Thompson (@iantDC) February 27, 2014

@iantDC @IngrahamAngle racism is wrong. Marriage has nothing to do with keeping the races apart. Marriage is about uniting male and female.

— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanT_Anderson) February 27, 2014

Ah, racism is wrong. Ryan’s bluntness reveals two things. First, that he doesn’t think anti-gay discrimination is wrong. I guess that’s not a news flash, but it contrasts with disingenuous commentators who say, Of course I’m opposed to discrimination, but we have to respect people’s freedom. (By the way, I don’t find that indefensible; I just rarely find it to be sincere.)

Second, he shows this isn’t about religious freedom for him. Sure, he thinks racism is morally wrong. And that’s based on his religious views. But others may (do!) find their faith not only doesn’t find racism wrong, but actually mandates it. These are both religious views. From a “religious liberty” perspective, the only difference is that one of them is part of Ryan’s religion while the other is not — but Ryan wishes liberty only for his own beliefs.

Which, of course, is how we know Ryan isn’t really an advocate for religious freedom.

Keep in mind, this is the man who wrote:

Liberty protects the rights of citizens even to do things we might personally disagree with. via @Heritage

— Ryan T. Anderson (@RyanT_Anderson) February 25, 2014

Really, though, he means liberty protects the right of people to do things you and I might disagree with, but if he disagrees with them, then liberty can go bake a cake. Freedom for me, but not for thee.

David in the O.C.

February 28th, 2014

“you have no right to have anyone bake you a wedding cake.”

Really? If a bakery offers wedding cakes in exchange for money, then any customer that walks in the door and pays for one, has a right to one. The customer is NOT obligated to practice the religious beliefs of the baker.

“Marriage has nothing to do with keeping the races apart.”

Really? Because, about 60 years ago, marriage had everything to do with keeping the races apart. That’s why 41 states, throughout our country’s history, had bans on interracial marriages.

Lynn David

March 1st, 2014

Well, there is the concept of “unjust discrimination” in the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is used in speaking of gays and lesbians in the religion’s catechism (and may be the only place it is mentioned). But then if there is “unjust discrimination” there is surely then a principle of “just discrimination” within the religion. But the ultimate question becomes does a religion or the civil code define discrimination.


March 3rd, 2014

I read through that final link and some of the responses. Whenever it was pointed out that these laws would support race-based discrimination, Anderson’s supporters fired back that there is no religion that supports racism (Though of course, if there were, they should totally have that right. But there aren’t, so it isn’t an issue). So it seems that at least some of that mindset are so narrowly focused on their own religion, they can’t fathom a belief system that differs from theirs. It might also be a question of what is defined as religion. I know conservative Christians for whom any non-Christian religion is a “cult.” (This also ignores the very broad legal definition these laws seem to provide that don’t even require a codified ethic to apply, much less an organized church.) There are many ways around the self-contradictions that denounce race- or sex-based discrimination and still permits anti-gay discrimination.

In fact, the one that probably best characterizes Anderson might be the “gays are not (a class of) people.” This way, you can’t discriminate on the basis of one’s racial class, or gender class, but LGBT is not a class, so there is no discrimination. We could try pointing our that anti-gay discrimination is a form of religious discrimination, but we might make his head explode. That might be why they focus on race rather than sex/gender discrimination. It would quickly become obvious that denying marriage to gay couples is a form of sex discrimination, as well.

Priya Lynn

March 3rd, 2014

Nathaniel, Rob Tisnai did a post on the Arizona law and as that one was written it certainly would have permitted race based discrimination as the definition of an “imposition on religious belief” was that the person himself felt there was an imposition on his religious belief regardless of whether or not there was any doctrine or stated church position that supported that conclusion.

And certainly there have been churchs that taught that blacks don’t have souls and aren’t technically human and should be discriminated against. Given the thousands of christians denominations no doubt there are still some churchs around that believe this.

Timothy Kincaid

March 4th, 2014

I think that we should be cautious about claims as to what the Arizona law (or similar laws) would or could do.

They cannot, for example, allow race-based discrimination. That is federally banned and a state law cannot invalidate the federal civil rights laws. Nor can they allow discrimination based on another person’s religion.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.