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Ryan Anderson’s new book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom now has 157 comments at the Amazon page. The average rating in the “Customer Reviews” section is 3.5 stars out of 5, a score that would cast it as a middling effort in ordinary circumstances.

But then, we have to wonder why it has received so many reviews at this point, especially as the only edition to be released so far is the Kindle version. (The paperback won’t be available until August 31.) Also, note that not a single one of those 157 ratings is a 3-star. Apart from two 2-star judgments and three 4-star judgments, we have 97 5-stars and 55 1-stars.

The polarization has an obvious source: a polarizing topic. But that doesn’t explain the abundance of extreme opinions here. What happened when Truth Overruled came out was a simple case of smear. Within a few days, dozens of commenters piled on with insult.


There are a few angry voices left, the loudest of which emanate from Professor Robert George’s small cadre of professional anti-gay Catholics. . . . Professor George is desperate to convince the nation that his arguments actually hold weight with people who aren’t angry, elderly, subliterate Catholics, which is why Anderson’s presence in the media has been so ubiquitous.
[Anderson] punches you in the face and then complains, how dare you hurt my fist with your nose!
Fascism 101 for Self-Righteous American Anti-Intellectuals . . . He is as close to Goebbels as Pope Pius XII.
. . . more anti-gay bigotry
If you’re sympathetic to his views, don’t waste your money. There’s nothing here than the ramblings of a professional pundit.

. . . take a look at what the author has said and done in the past and see if he is the type of man you want to listen to . . .

. . . dog whistles to Anti-Gay bigotry

. . . simply narcissistic raving. Don’t bother.

. . . just because your gawd spewed nonsense on LGBT, the world doesn’t need to ostracize them and deny them basic rights!

More anti-gay propaganda from one of the religious right’s most eloquent but twisted “scholars.” . . . Anderson’s book reads more like scare-mongering propaganda than the work of a serious “scholar.”

Just – gross! . . . You guys just HATE it that you have lost.

Reads as if the author took a book from the 60's fight against desegregation, changed all the race related word to gay and marriage, updated it and sent it to be published.

Faux-scholar using discredited faux-science paid for by notorious gaybashing bigots. 

Unmarried closet cases like Anderson should not be preaching about marriage or ‘truth'.

Right-thinking Americans should avoid it like Ebola.

I'm surprised this book is even available on Amazon.

. . . perhaps repeated viewings of Brokeback Mountain will cure him of his strange aversion and fascination with gay.

Ryan T. Anderson is nothing but another scam artist polluting the world of religion infesting in America today. This book will go to bonfire for the kids to toast marsh mellow

More garbage from people who don't know the Bible.

If you are going to write a book about something, at least stick to the facts instead of lying through your eye-teeth.

There is more, and worse. The ironies are thick, for instance, comparing Anderson to a Nazi and advocating, too, the burning of the book.

The real question is one of impact. Liberals generally are bothered by this kind of denunciation even as they favor same-sex marriage, but I doubt very many of them are willing to say so. LGBT positions have become a favored aspect of today’s elite culture, a necessity for les bien-pensants. Such remarks above are distasteful to them, but they believe that the vulgar extremists will fade away as LGBT matters become normal and unexciting in the coming years.

It won’t happen, though. There are too many other manifestations of a sinister progressivist animus at work in our culture. It surrounds sexual affairs and racial affairs as well. The ubiquity of Al Sharpton is a clear sign of the second. As for the first, when the White House is turned into an illuminated billboard for progressive triumph, we should take not just as a joyous affirmation of one group, but also as taking another group of people by the scruff of the neck and rubbing their faces in the dirt. Such cases make it clear that the bile at Amazon is not a marginal expression. It’s part of the progressivist program, and it's going to continue.

Mark Bauerlein is senior editor of First Things.

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