Monday, June 20, 2016

"Truth Overruled" by Ryan Anderson: A Review

The redefinition of marriage as a genderless partnership is possible only in a society that has already done serious damage to the institution. long before there was a debate about same-sex marriage, Americans of every political stripe bought into a sexual ideology that undermined the rational foundations for the marital norms of permanence, exclusivity, and monogamy. Cohabitation, no-fault divorce, recreational sex, nonmarital childbearing, and pornography all contributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture. If marriage is simply about emotional companionship, then of course mena nd women are interchangeable.

What took decades to deconstruct will take a long time to rebuild. (179)

In June 2015, five unelected judges at the Supreme Court overstepped their legal and constitutional bounds and redefined marriage across all fifty states. This revolutionary decision presents a serious challenge to conscientious objectors of all stripes especially to people of faith. One of the rising voices of opposition to both erotic liberty and the courts decision is Ryan T. Anderson and his post-Obergefell book is one of the most important I have come across. It is entitled, Truth Overruled: the Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.

Anderson's ultimate hope is that the pro-marriage movement will gain the steam that the pro-life movement has following Roe vs. Wade. Although it remains to be seen if such a movement will take place, I share that hope with the author.

He begins by explaining what marriage is and why redefining that it is dangerous for children and society. Before there was the demand for same-sex marriage, Anderson shows there was already a redefinition of marriage - a move from what he calls a comprehensive view to a consensual view. By diminishing what marriage is to personal, and often temporal, fulfillment and pleasure, the damage to children and society had already been done. By adding same-sex marriage to that equation only contributes to that damage.

Anderson presents clear evidence that non-hetersexual marriage hurts children and society. A couple that stays together "until death do them part" is best. The evidence he presents is so strong that any argument against it is, I believe, largely politically motivated. If robbing children of one of their biological parents harms them, then how does same-sex marriage strengthen the lives of children? But, as Anderson argues, marriage is no longer about the good of children and society, but about the adults. We are sacrificing the well-being of children for sexual fulfillment and desires.

Much of the book surveys the damage Obergefell is doing to our first liberty: freedom of religion. The legalization of same-sex marriage, like the legalization of abortion before it, is nothing short of judicial tyranny. What makes this case so serious is it threatens the constitutional rights and the individual conscience of millions of Americans to object to it on moral grounds. Prior to this case, same-sex couples could exercise virtually all of the rights of married heterosexual couples apart from the definition of marriage. Now, however, homosexual activists can sue to the point of bankruptcy private individuals, charities, and companies for not bowing to the oligarchs of the Supreme Court.

Anderson chronicles all of this and for people of faith it can be frightening. If progressives really believe in openness and tolerance, they need to be aware that they are putting people of faith into proverbial closets and they should be ashamed.

Yet what makes the book so rich is how it ends. Anderson is a hopeful prophet who believes "we shall overcome." Marriages best days are ahead of us, not behind us because the sexual revolution cannot fulfill its promises. Erotic liberty may be popular today, but it cannot set anyone free. Anderson is confident that people of faith and conservatives alike can unite and organize to make sound, strong arguments like they have on matters of life.

I pray he is right. But if we are going to be successful, we have a lot of work to do. Let us begin with our own marriages.
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