Exchanges were bad enough back when Proposition 8 was voted on in California, and again in the subsequent court appeals of it when people were yelling at the opposition and demonstrations got physically confrontational and some high profile people even got death threats. The passion and vitriol grew and spread after that. This week, when the Supreme Court began hearing arguments from both sides of the marriage divide, media coverage showed that we’re not having a debate of different views. We’re having a culture war.
Here’s a snapshot, in three parts…
Ryan T. Anderson is one of three authors of the book ‘What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.’ Whatever our views on marriage, I strongly believe we should be able to discuss, debate, exchange and have a proper argument in the classic intellectual tradition of both stating a case and listening to the opposing argument and engaging. And in the end, respectfully agree to disagree, but with knowledge of why the intellectual opponent believes the way they do. Civil discourse. It need not be antiquated to the times of Thomas Aquinas or G.K. Chesterton. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was great at it, for goodness sake.
But Anderson was the author of that book who appeared on several news programs this past week, and though he respectfully presented and defended his case, he got hammered by the opposing side, which was not only the other guest(s) on the panel, but the darned moderator.
Take for instance his appearance on CNN with Don Lemon as anchor. In all the time I’ve watched CNN, in all the heavy stories and issues and politics they’ve covered, I’ve never seen Lemon come undone as he did there.
Then Anderson was a guest on CNN’s Piers Morgan live, with Suze Orman representing the opposite viewpoint (and the audience stacked in favor of that argument). Piers Morgan wound up calling Anderson’s views offensive, intolerant and un-American.
The next day, Anderson appeared on The Blaze as part of a roundtable discussion, in which he was the minority. He held his own as usual, and this one was at least a bit more diplomatic, though that’s a relative term right now. As are many others in the marriage debate these days.
If we’re going to talk about marriage reasonably, and please let’s try that, the book Anderson co-authored is at least one good resource.
UPDATE: This American Thinker post, ‘Agree to Disagree?’ Not Any More, is spot on.
So, where does that get us as a nation? There will be those who set the agenda with loud voices and intimidation tactics, and those who keep their mouths shut — if they know what’s good for them. There’s almost a Germany-of-the-1930s feel in the air. It seems, America is spiraling downward and we all need to be concerned that there aren’t enough Dietrich Bonhoeffers to stop the momentum.