Matthew J. Franck
Robert P. George
William J. Haun
David T. Koyzis
Robert T. Miller
James R. Rogers
Russell E. Saltzman
Our former junior fellow and current editorial advisory council member Ryan T. Anderson appeared on Piers Morgan last night.
I found it strange that Anderson would not say he opposed same-sex marriage and also said the issue should be democratically decided by the people (presumably the states). As I understand him (and Girgis, and George), if the American people through a purely democratic process approve of same-sex marriage, they will be wrong, just as if there were a national referendum on abortion and the American people approved abortion on demand, Girgis, George, Anderson, and the pro-life movement would not say, “Well, we have to accept it, since it was decided democratically.” I think he was waffling. As discussed here recently, Girgis and Anderson, while endorsing Robert George’s proposal for civil unions as a compromise to prevent same-sex marriage, said, “We ourselves do not favor civil-union schemes of any type, but we are prepared to accept them as part of an honorable compromise among reasonable people of goodwill.” So Anderson does not approve of civil unions of any type, but he will not come out and say he is opposed to same-sex marriage?
Andrew Koppelman has a review of the Girgis, Anderson, and George book in the current issue of Commonweal that I find makes a strong case against the authors’ position. Of course, how you react to these kinds of arguments is largely a matter what your current position is already.
Wow. Talk about going into the belly of the beast.
There were moments where Mr. Anderson held his own & did excellent; other moments, in my opinion, he had the “deer in headlights” look (not that I would have fared any better amidst such hostilities).
The public shaming of supporters of traditional marriage continues apace. And CNN, it appears, is only too happy to help facilitate.
Buy that man a beer. It’s literally the first time I have heard an intelligent defense of traditional marriage on TV. It just doesn’t happen.
He could’ve been even more persuasive had he been more forceful in defending benefits for gay couples instead of ultimately dismissing it as a “secondary issue.” If you defeat the benefits issue, the debate shifts to the last remaining point of contention which is the fundamental purpose of marriage and on that, traditionalists stand on firmer ground. Addressing benefits to the satisfaction of SSM proponents is sound strategy.
Magnificent valour, Mr. Anderson.
The public shaming of supporters of traditional marriage continues apace. And CNN, it appears, is only too happy to help facilitate.
Was Anderson treated unfairly? I don’t think so. He chose to appear on a television show with hosts and an audience that he had to know would be unsympathetic to his view. I also think he was being disingenuous to claim he believed all Americans had a “right to live and to love as they choose.” I simply don’t find it credible that Ryan Anderson (or any other “conservative” Catholic) thinks in those terms. Also, strangely, I thought he invoked a kind of relativism when Orman said she thought if he really understood the issue, he would be on her side, and he said, “Why do you assume I am ignorant? I don’t assume anything badly about you.” He said he agreed with Obama that people of good will and sound mind could disagree on this issue. He said he would not call her names or say she was ignorant. But clearly Anderson, Girgis, and George do in fact believe that they are right, and that those who disagree with them don’t understand objective reality as it pertains to the nature of marriage. When people of good will and sound mind disagree on something, we don’t assume it is for no reason, or that they are both right. In fact, when you think you are right, the most charitable reason imaginable for explaining why someone else disagrees with you is that they don’t have all the information. I think Orman was saying Anderson was not aware of all of the real-world legal and financial benefits that marriage could bring to same-sex couples. There is no question she is better informed on that matter than he is, although she is quite wrong to assume that if Anderson knew what she knew, that would change his position. I thought both Orman and Morgan made an effort to be accommodating and civil. Anderson picked the…
He exhibited great courage in entering the “lion’s den” but made a few fundamental mistakes. He should not have let them place him in the audience and Ormon at the “podium”. It implies he lacks authority and that she has it. In other words the format was set up to make him fail. Yet, no matter what you think of the issue, they are both partisans and should both be treated as such. Second he was always on defense. He should have asked why we should have “gay marriage”. Third, he waffled a bit, as the first commenter said. Fourth, I think he would have been wise to challenge Morgan’s assertion that that he was denying a right to Ormon that he was reserving to himself. His definition of marriage is universal. That is, it may be wrong, but it is not inconsistent. Ormon has as much of a right to marry as Anderson, she simply isn’t interested in marriage unless its redefined. Finally, the level to which emotional rhetoric passes for argument these days, portends very bad things on the horizon.
The question what is marriage should be the first point of contention, not the last. The lady he was addressing made the secondary issue a front line issue. It is a travesty to see these secondary issues which can be dealt with by other means than marriage revision being treated all the time while the revision of the meaning of marriage to empty of it’s biological raisin d’être necessarily blacks out the biological nexus of children to their parents. This should have more air time than $2000 yearly estate taxes for wealthy adults!!!
Piers Morgan proves over and over again that he is a completely one sided, unprofessional reported who tries to force public opinion to side with him, either on gun control or gay marriage… or anything of that nature. In this case, he puts Suze Gorman in a powerful position as his interviewee (without an opposing view sitting next to her), with the majority of his audience supporting his position on gay marriage in a clear effort to ridicule the opposing point of view, which, in opinion, I completely support. Their efforts to manipulate the youth by putting forward morals completely oppose to the values that America was built on are dangerous. I feel sorry for gay people and I wish they would chose another path, but this sorrowfulness can’t allow us to create a world in which our children don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of a home where a “mother” and “father” are there to support them and take care of them. Yeah, there is divorce…and many other badness destroying the unity of the family, which God intended as a safe haven for the precious children he sends to this earth, but we must continue to fight against those forces to have hope of a better future for the generations come.
Unfortunately, this debate was over the moment it began. What an absurd display of pathos and condescension toward Mr. Anderson, who in a more civil setting would have fared better.
That was one of the most magnificent displays of courage that I have ever seen.
The set up was rigged against him, with two hostile hosts and a hostile audience, and he still held his own.
Piers Morgan is a bully – he interrupted Ryan on every single answer being given. But being from Canada, I’ve seen this all before – we had this same ‘debate’ 8 years ago.
It stinks, largely because everything is framed in terms of rights. The population has been educated in terms of rights and only rights as that means by which the citizenry relates to political authority. It may even have been an error on the part of traditional marriage’s defenders to even use the language of rights at certain points in this process. But I’m convinced that this is where the major mistakes are made (in addition to the procreation aspect, which Anderson did fairly well on).
The hosts displayed a surprising, almost cruel, lack of compassion toward prisoners. The purpose was to paint Mr. Anderson as cruel and uncompassionate to committed homosexuals, but are the hosts willing to extend their “compassion” to adults in committed polygamous relations? Hopefully all sane citizens agree that it isn’t intolerant to deny children, siblings or a parent and offspring marriage because such sexual arrangements are immoral and thus marriage ought to, by definition, exclude them. Most defenders of legally recognizing monogamous-homosexual-relations as marriages stop short of extending their definition to polygamous arrangements—but do they hold consistent principled grounds for this limit? Surely, adults in a committed polygamous relation hold intense, loving, emotions and feelings for one another. In an age of no-fault divorce, isn’t it noble polygamous adults can remain committed to one another? Surely, men and women in committed polygamous relations could serve as loving and caring parents—why cannot they be considered husbands and wives, mother and father?
There is something distinct in a committed sexual union between one man and one woman—a potential that is absent in other committed adult relations, sexual or non-sexual.
Unlike other committed adult relations, an inherently unitive and procreative dimension exists in the complimentary conjugal union of man and woman as such—this unique potential, rather than the mere fact of sexual involvement, is the seed of motherhood and fatherhood. This union deserves legal-recognition because the generation of future citizens depends on this procreative potential whereas granting homosexual or polygamous relations legal-marital-status is synonymous to legally-sanctioning sexual-preferences.
David Nickol: “I thought both Orman and Morgan made an effort to be accommodating and civil.”
I read this blog with regularity and am always interested to see this gentleman’s contrarian remarks. But my jaw hit the floor when I read this sentence, which demonstrates such a lack of even a basic connection to objective reality that it really casts doubt on his judgment generally. a) Suze opened by calling Ryan “uneducated.” b) She called him “sweetheart.” c) They put him in the middle of a hostile crowd instead of on stage with them…the appearance was of nothing less than an inquisition. Or: he was relegated to the kiddie table since he’s not worthy of the adults. d) Suze regularly enticed the crowd to boo and jeer. e) Neither ever considered his substantive points. f) Piers closed with a collection substanceless assertions and ad hominems. I could go on.
If the only way David can maintain his own grasp on his intellectual positions is never once to admit when his “side” is in the wrong, even at the risk of denying objective reality, then those positions are really, like the Vice Presidency, not worth a warm bucket of spit.
@Nickol, Mr. Morgan treated Mr. Anderson as a hostile witness at a criminal trial. His insistence on “yes” or “no” questions demonstrated no interest in understanding someone who disagreed with him. This wasn’t a discussion on Morgan’s part but a prolonged put-down. I’ve seen him do the same on other topics as well.
I do not believe that Morgan needed to be objective. He is not a reporter but a talk show host. He is welcome to his opinion. But I find his show an echo chamber with no effort to either explain or understand. If a guest disagrees with him, the guest is put down. If a guest agrees, all is lightness.
Put simply, I learn nothing listening to Piers Morgan, which makes him not worth my time.
He chose to appear on a television show with hosts and an audience that he had to know would be unsympathetic to his view.
That he consented to showing up despite any expected hostility is besides the point; the fact of the matter is that the whole setup was asymmetrical; it was not Piers the unbiased journalist trying to get to the bottom of the issue and giving two reasonable but opposite positions airtime. It was Piers the Inquisitor holding forth an interrogation of someone whose views he finds repulsive. With Ms. Orman on stage holding the high ground and Mr. Anderson as Just Some Guy In the Crowd, there was no question as to whose views were the Correct Views in this situation.
You said that you felt Orman and Morgan tried to be “accommodating and civil”. Perhaps, insofar as they didn’t stick their fingers in their ears while he spoke. Would that Piers had given Orman half the interrogation that he gave Anderson… then it might have been, well, halfway balanced. Many of his “questions” for Mr. Anderson weren’t questions at all, but were simply “gotchas”. (As opposed to his questions for Orman, which were gently lobbed softballs.) And how could Ms. Orman’s response to Anderson be construed as anything other than condescending? – “I feel compassion for you… but I also know that you are uneducated in how it really, really works.” I thought Mr. Anderson’s response to that was one of his finest moments in this clip. Yeah, he may have an interior belief that he knows something about “what marriage is” that Ms. Orman does not; nevertheless he had the class to treat her viewpoint as something that a rational person can hold without simultaneously denigrating her intelligence.
Ryan Anderson for the Laetare Medal!
One of the single most courageous public stands I’ve ever seen in my life.
How many blatant logical fallacies can Suze Orman pack in? Good night.
She claims Anderson is ignorant based on nothing other than her disagreement with him. When he shows that he knows more about the financial issues involved than she does, she fails to answer his question about the elderly sisters. She surveys the audience after struggling to make a point about marriage and children. Then she argues that Anderson is in the minority viewpoint for his age group.
It’s unfortunate Anderson was treated in this way. I guess you can’t expect much more in our society where reasoned debate is pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole.
Piers Morgan loves to set up Christians (or anyone who uphold marriage between a man & woman) as the epitome of stupidity & ridiculousness. He can’t accept that everyone else doesn’t agree with the ever changing tide of public opinion & adheres to the biblical standard. So many are on the wide road & those who are on the narrow road in North America must now expect to be publicly humiliated whenever we attempt to defend the biblical model.
I do admit to being just a little biased. I am much more sympathetic to the viewpoints of Morgan and Orman than Anderson. (However, if I was going to engage with any of the three, I would much rather spend time talking to Anderson. He came across, in my opinion, as the most likable of the three and the one it would be most possible to have an interesting discussion with. It is very astute of Robert George to let Girgis and Anderson be the spokespersons. They don’t come across as culture warriors.)
I have never seen Piers Morgan’s show before, and so I don’t know what the format usually is. I just assumed what we were seeing was the normal format. It did not occur to me that the physical setup was arranged to put Anderson at a disadvantage. I doubt that it was, but as I have said, I am not familiar with the show. But it’s my impression that Morgan is not acting as an unbiased journalist, but is there to express his own opinion. It’s basically a talk show, isn’t it?
The set up of this show (with Ryan off stage with inadequate shadowy lighting and his opponents on stage) reminded me of a spoof of late night shows done by Andy Kaufman where his podium as the host was ten feet above his guests. I agree with the commenter that Anderson should have demanded to be on stage with his opponent. Also, the lady was totally rude and condescending, she could hardly bring herself to even refer to Mr. Anderson by his name even though he has written and thought about the topic more extensively than anyone in that room.
Morgan is a piece of work. I don’t care for his rude, abrupt style, his obvious bias or most of his views. But that discussion/interview was pretty tame compared to Morgan’s usual performances, not to mention the average cable bloviator. Honestly, all the pearl clutching over this clip makes me think not many around here have ever watched an evening cable news show before. Given the personal dimension of the issue for Orman, she was also fairly restrained while still exhibiting her usual sing-song, condescending schmaltz. In other words, that was about as good as Anderson could have expected. He just wasn’t prepared, though he seems like a nice enough fellow. Most of the problem is that the argument he has on offer simply isn’t very persuasive, especially not in that kind of format.
To paraphrase Morgan and Orman: “You’re thirty years-old and uninformed. Pity you. You’re simply being intolerant. It’s obvious. How dare you?” And this passes for a convincing argument?
Once upon a time a man named Lincoln debated a man named Douglas. That time is long gone.
Abandon all hope, all ye reasonable folk who enter the wasteland of televised public discourse. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. At least it appears we still have that bizarre constitutional “right” to believe in square circles.
I do not think that Ryan was disingenuous by saying he supported the right of every American to live and love as he or she chooses. As Christians we believe that God has given us laws and standards by which we must live if we are to please him; but unless we are supporters of a theocracy in this age we recognize that secular governments and societies do not always operate by those laws and standards. In that case, we (as Christian citizens) can try to influence the secular laws according to our convictions, just as those who hold other views can try to influence these laws according to their convictions, by means of the instruments of democracy at our disposal.
So while Ryan may well believe that SSM is contrary to God’s law, he can still recognize the American people’s right to decide the matter for the secular laws of their country, through the democratic processes. No contradiction and not disengenuous at all.
David Nickol said: “As I understand him (and Girgis, and George), if the American people through a purely democratic process approve of same-sex marriage, they will be wrong”.
Well, there is a distinction between means and ends. Arriving at an unjust end through just means does not transform the end into a just end.
This is something that SSMers have often said but it applies to their argumentation too.
So that returns us to the end. Is the imposition of SSM a just end? No, Anderson has argued, based on what marriage actually is.
SSM — by whatever means — would always be an imposition for it is not justified. Entrenching SSM into the law of marriage would be an arbitrary act of governmental power regardless of the branch of government, including a direct vote on the matter by the electorate.
Certainly, David, you misunderstand their position on civil union. They do not propose it be attached to the hip of marital status. They do not propose that it entail a legal presumption that the relationship is a sexual type of relationship at law. Indeed, they have made these points expressly.
When you take the gay emphasis out of the SSM rhetoric, what is left is a plea for protections for non-marital scenarios. However, the political demand is for gay identity to be granted much higher priority than the marriage idea itself. It is a form of supremacy of identity politics that was repudiated with the various means by which racist identity politics was removed from marriage law. That entail just means for a just end.
This debate would have been a lot better if people would have acknowledged what he was actually saying instead of ignoring his points entirely and considered him ignorant because they were not listening.