SSM is Not Like Abortion

One of the things I’ve been neglecting by not doing much blogging is holding Ryan Anderson’s feet to the fire. He hasn’t been inactive lately, by any means. So to kick things off for the new year, let’s tackle one of his latest instances of foolishness.

In the video below, a distraught middle-aged woman complains to the panel that her young niece looked at her like she was “a horrible person” when the woman told her niece she thought marriage was between a man and a woman, and looked to the panel for some help with “How are you guys winning [millenials] over” to the side of bigotry (OK, that’s my word…)?

And “Dr.”* Anderson’s (looking increasingly like Grizzly Adams–not such a fresh face now) response? Comparing abortion to same-sex marriage: “My generation is more pro-life than my parents’ generation, and there’s no reason why the same thing can’t happen on the question about marriage.”

Oh, but there is. It’s a bit like comparing support for nuclear weapons programs to believing it’s acceptable for men to wear pink.

First of all, despite the right-wing spin to the contrary, people are not “pro abortion”. Some people are pro choice, and that’s an important difference that they routinely ignore. Even many people who are pro choice would not themselves choose to have an abortion, and might even counsel their friends and family against having an abortion themselves. But they would also not presume to make that choice for another woman, or allow the government to do so either.

Abortion is not like SSM. It’s a tricky issue. There are some who believe life begins at conception (btw, this is a relatively recent belief among evangelical Christians), and others who aren’t really certain when it begins. There is no point at which a fetus flips obviously from “not life” to “life”. It’s hard to look at a bundle of cells early in a pregnancy and think “That’s a person!” and it’s equally hard to look at a fetus in the third trimester and NOT think that. But in between?

We’re talking about something that can be perceived as terminating a human life, as opposed to two people who love each other wanting to have the same rights and privileges that their neighbors get as a couple. There is really no comparison here. There is no reason for young people to shift back the other direction, now that they see gay couples getting married and doing the same things straight married couples do, and the world not ending because of it.

Anderson’s response is either evidence that he is truly naive and maybe even a bit daft, or an attempt to lead her down the garden path. See, he and his kind make a living off of this crap, and they need to give people hope. Otherwise the money stops coming: the various non-profit hate groups like NOM and FRC stop getting money, these people stop getting invited to speak, their books stop selling. In fact, they are selling hope that their war isn’t lost. But they know this particular one is, in the US at least. It’s why Brian Brown has been concentrating more of his efforts on the friendly audiences of Russia, why Tony Perkins is branching out from verbal gay-bashing, and why Anderson has been spending more time talking about abortion than SSM.

Maybe through desperately wanting to believe, the audience in the room bought that load of bull, but anyone who engages the critical thinking portion of their brains can do no more than laugh it off.

*If he is going to scare quote same-sex “marriage” because he doesn’t believe two men or two women can marry, I’ll do the same for his title, since I don’t believe he deserves a doctorate.

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