Pastor Anderson, You’re Wrong

10.25.2012, 11:34 PM

I saw David Blankenhorn’s post below reporting the Maryland pastor’s comments about supporters of same-sex marriage being “worthy of death.”

As a Catholic Christian who supports the conception of marriage as between one man and one woman, I find Pastor Anderson’s abuse of Sacred Scripture appalling and his words gravely irresponsible. And I find it equally appalling and gravely irresponsible that the main director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance did not call out Pastor Anderson for his gravely irresponsible comments.

I was one of the people who urged David to reconsider his statement about animus. Of course there are some people who use violent rhetoric against gays and lesbians. I don’t know how many people there are.

But, right now, that’s beside the point. The fact that there are some people, like Pastor Anderson, making such suggestively violent comments is deeply troubling, and deserves condemnation.

Pastor Anderson, you should know that taking Sacred Scripture and wielding it as a weapon in a way that could very well incite violence is an utter betrayal of your position as a minister of God’s Word.

And when it comes to sin, I urge you to remember Jesus’ words about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

And Mr. McCoy, I urge you to remember you duty as a public leader to defend the dignity of all persons. You know (or should know) that Pastor Anderson’s words, whatever their intention, are deeply misguided and irresponsible; that they encourage the demonic idea that violence against one group of people is justified in the name of God.  Your failure to act as  an instrument of peace in this forum is scandalous.

I would remind everyone that Pastor Anderson does not speak for Jesus. Read the Gospels and read his own words, and see how he lived, and how he commanded his followers to live.

And for an indication of how many of the people I know who are trying to follow Jesus today see it, please read this statement, Always Our Children, from the U.S. Catholic bishops.

The bishops state emphatically that, “Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them (cf. The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 10). It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358).”


26 Responses to “Pastor Anderson, You’re Wrong”

  1. Diane M says:

    Thank you.

  2. Roger says:

    I never thought that Pastor Anderson speaks for Jesus. He does speak for the National Organization for Marriage.

  3. Mont D. Law says:

    [I would remind everyone that Pastor Anderson does not speak for Jesus.]

    I would like to point out that no one can speak for Jesus. The Pope and the Pastor are just two of millions who claim to. Except for the fact one claim is kinder there is not much to distinguish between them. Show a man the one true path and he’ll never be content to walk it alone.

  4. The bishops’ statement is spectacularly offensive. I don’t doubt that it is well intended but it is not the message that either gay kids or their parents need or deserve.

    I am curious. Do you support the Pope’s statement that it is an act of “violence” for a gay couple to adopt children? Is there much difference between the Pope’s hyperbole and that of Anderson? The exact quote is:

    Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children

  5. Zooey Glass says:

    Two points:

    First, I have to agree with David Cary Hart in that to these gay eyes, the bishops’ statement is offensive. Granted, gays themselves don’t seem to be the target audience for this statement; but to the point of this discussion, it seems at best ineffective as a pushback against overt anti-gay hatred. A document premised on gays and lesbians being intrinsically disordered, and that asserts that being LGBT parents is an act of violence against children, isn’t really going to do much to quell anti-gay sentiment and seriously undermines the nice-nice message Mr. Lapp quotes in his posting.

    The message I see in the bishops’ statement is: “They aren’t evil, they’re disordered; Don’t hate them, pity them.” If this is the best example of pushing back against anti-gay sentiment, I think it proves the point of how much anti-gay sentiment fuels the anti-SSM movement.

    Second: Yes, I recognize that some of those arguing against SSM here and elsewhere are not necessarily anti-gay. There is nuance to this position, and I promise I have read these arguments carefully. I hear you and take you at your word about the lack of animus. But opposing SSM is an anti-gay position in effect, even if not in intention, in that it materially harms gay people and their families. And it forces you into an alliance with those who are clearly motivated by anti-gay animus, and creates an incentive against decrying anti-gay bigotry where it does exist.

    Some of you here who are opposed to SSM may not bear animus toward LGBT people, but if you remove from your movement those that do, how small would your movement be? Have you, in your advocacy against SSM, every countenanced, excused, overlooked, or chosen not to challenge anti-gay animus in your allies for the sake of your shared goal?

    To deny the very strong anti-gay sentiment that provides the numbers at anti-SSM rallies and votes seems to me to deny reality.

  6. Zooey Glass says:

    Upon re-reading, I realize I have conflated quotes from elsewhere in my comment on the “Always Our Children” document. It makes no mention of gay adoption as violence to children, so if I could, I would retract that criticism.

  7. Matthew Kaal says:


    I would say that the Catholic Church’s statement about “disordered” sexuality needs to be read in the context of what the church believes about all sin – that its existence in all forms is a disordering of God’s perfect creation. I realize that this is still not going to be popular with anyone who doesn’t believe in sin, or that acting on same-sex attractions is sinful (totally fair, the Church can’t compel anyone to believe this) – but I think it bears pointing out that the Church, if it is being consistent, would say that just about everyone is ‘disordered’ in one way or another because everyone is sinful – and as I understand them, this is why the Catholic Church believes that everyone requires grace.

    I would also point out that the injunction is not to pity an LGBT individual, but to love them – which is different (and it goes without saying that Christians fail at it often).

    “But opposing SSM is an anti-gay position in effect, even if not in intention, in that it materially harms gay people and their families.” This really is the crux of the disagreement between religious traditionalists and SSM-advocates – in that the religious folks I know would define the greatest harm posed to same-sex attracted individuals (they would say it is a spiritual danger) differently from SSM advocates (who would say the greatest danger is the emotion harm of prejudice and inability to express their love openly in society and have that be approved).

    There is just a fundamental disconnect there which leads both camps to think the other is doing harm (and I think both sides see that this harm is generally unintentional on the part of their opponents – which is why everyone gets frustrated). I tend to agree that the religious folks have blundered often and badly in there attempts to engage the other side – and this has allowed bad teaching and hate to establish itself in religious culture, which is a scandal and a travesty.

    I honestly don’t think the religious argument is one that will ever make sense outside of a deep, trust-filled relationship, so it is hard to make it on a blog and I know many religious people who simply don’t engage for that reason.

    Just some thoughts. I really appreciated your comment.

  8. Zooey, FYI, the “violence” quote is from the Pope, here
    I would argue that the entire anti-marriage equality enterprise is not much better that Anderson because the campaigns are intellectually dishonest.

    Today, right now, that enterprise is being directed by the same USCCB through NOM. The Church has directly spent over $1 million on the current campaigns. Then there are NOM and the Knights of Columbus.

    I have no problem with that. I can argue with that. If you think that God will be angry then do not gay marry. But that is not the argument.

    The reason that equal marriage has become a proxy for gay rights is because NOM and the Knights and the Church, et al have made it such. Lacking a secular argument, they have posited arguments that torture logic and are a combination of misdirection, cognitive dissonance, lies and innuendo. Their “strongest” argument has always been that gay people are a danger to children. It’s nauseating.

    Aside from the frustration that these cause, gay kids have to listen to this nonsense. They can claim all the civility in the world. However, as long as NOM blows that particular dog whistle they are no better than Anderson- perhaps worse.

  9. Zooey Glass says:

    Matthew, thank you for your response. I will say that I think you get it a little wrong in your assessment of what we pro-SSM believe is the greatest harm. Yes, all of what you list are among the harms we see, but those are intangibles and have to do with feelings. There are measurable, quantifiable legal and financial harms that are usually at the forefront of the argument, and are the bases for the legal decisions that keep coming down striking down laws like the Defense of Marriage Act.

    You wrote: “I honestly don’t think the religious argument is one that will ever make sense outside of a deep, trust-filled relationship.” I think that’s true, but I’d add to it that it isn’t one that will ever make sense outside of your particular religious belief system. Just as it would be unfair to expect the Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, or atheist to keep kosher by force of US law, I find it unfair to expect all Americans to live under Catholic law.

    As a non-Catholic and a non-Christian, I have an emotional and moral interest in how churches treat gay and lesbian people, but I know that I don’t actually get to vote on the Catholic church’s policies or positions. I may not like them, but I recognize it is not my place to set them.

    But we all live by the laws of this country, even as we have different beliefs and feelings about many issues, spiritual, moral, and otherwise. I feel like arguments about the alleged spiritual dangers to gay people belong in the church, among the church’s believers, not in public policy or laws that affect all citizens, believers or not.

    I believe a person could, in theory, believe being gay to be disordered, and that gay couples are grievously sinning, but still not block legal recognition of gay relationships out of an understanding that not every American lives by the same theology they do.

    To my eyes, the theological debate is important, but one that should be independent from the legal and policy one. I suppose that says something about how I rank my citizenship principles and my religious ones, and other people will balance them differently. But when there’s not theological agreement among religions or even denominations on this, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have the government stop doing tangible harm, and let the debate about spiritual harm continue among those believers who choose to have those arguments.

  10. Matthew Kaal says:


    I hear your distinction about the emotional and the legal.

    I think the legal and civil aspects are what many religious traditionalists are currently struggling with as participants in a pluralistic society. It comes down to living out one’s faith in one’s practice of being a citizen – how one views public morality, and how (in a democratic system) one advocates for one’s views of morality in the public square. If you adhere to a set of principles you believe to universally true, it is natural to seek to order all of society to recognize them – which inevitably leads to conflicts between competing moral systems. When the government is of, for, and by the people – it just gets complicated because we start fighting over what the social goods the state secures for its citizens are and can be.

    Further complicating things, many conservatives tend to be federalists who believe in a separation of powers which would place limits on courts and executives in terms of their ability to set policy on such issues – preferring to leave these decisions up to the people’s representatives or the people…so they don’t recognize the courts as a valid recourse.

  11. Matthew:

    With all due respect, I don’t think that you get it.

    My bubbe (grandmother) never organized a protest against the local pork store. Nor did she try to make the consumption of traif (non-kosher food) illegal under penalty of law. Nor did she finance such an initiative Oh, and Bubbe kept a strict kosher home.

    In the same pronouncement that I linked to earlier, the Pope insults our First Amendment by claiming that it is the duty of Catholic politicians to vote their religion first – above all other considerations. Fortunately, Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden think that their first duty is to all of their constituents – including the gay ones. Read the document. It is, in my humble opinion, indefensible.

  12. Roger says:

    Matthew Kaal writes: “I would say that the Catholic Church’s statement about “disordered” sexuality needs to be read in the context of what the church believes about all sin – that its existence in all forms is a disordering of God’s perfect creation.”

    Funny, I must have missed the papal bull that says all heterosexuals are intrinsically disordered.

    I also find it strange given the Catechism that denounces discrimination against gay people, that the Catholic Church routinely opposes laws that prohibit discrimination against gays in employment, housing, and public accommodations, even when they have very generous religious exemptions.

    Also the Church does not seem to practice its own “beliefs” against discrimination. One is reading about the Church firing teachers and choir masters, etc. when they discover they are gay. I believe Barry Deutsch recently provided several links to news stories.

    It is hard to take seriously the idea that the Catholic Church is concerned with discrimination against gay people.

  13. Zooey Glass says:

    I’m pushing past the three-post limit, so this may not make it. But briefly:

    Matt, I appreciate that there is a struggle in living out one’s faith in a culture where so many faiths collide. But David Carey Hart’s grandmother seems to have mastered balancing deeply held religious feelings with getting along in a pluralistic society. It’s frustrating that this is so difficult for so many.

    To the other comments, I’ll also agree that despite the gentle words of “Always Our Children”, the Catholic church does much to stigmatize and punish gay people in word and deed, and to try to force American Catholic political figures to bow first to Rome. I find all of it appalling and infuriating.

  14. Bregalad says:

    For an explanation from a queer Catholic perspective on the word “disordered” see the link below. I’ll also note that the queer Catholic perspective may, in fact, be orthodox Catholicism.

    Also, to David: You say the entire anti-SSM campaign is intellectually dishonest and that they lack a secular argument. If that is true, what do you call this?

    I opposed gay marriage believing that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. I didn’t just dream up this notion: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force in 1990, guarantees children this right.

    Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.

    At the level of first principles, gay marriage effaces that gift. No same-sex couple, married or not, can ever under any circumstances combine biological, social and legal parenthood into one bond. For this and other reasons, gay marriage has become a significant contributor to marriage’s continuing deinstitutionalization, by which I mean marriage’s steady transformation in both law and custom from a structured institution with clear public purposes to the state’s licensing of private relationships that are privately defined.

    Yeah, that’s David Blankenhorn in his NYT opinion piece right before he goes on to explain why he is reversing his previously held belief in opposition to SSM. He says he’s changed his mind for three reasons: 1) Because of the equal dignity of homosexual love, 2) comity, and 3) respect for the emerging consensus.

    Most anti-SSM folks just weigh the competing social good differently than David. They believe what David says in the quotation above and judge other dignitarian, fairness, and comity concerns as less significant. That’s their judgement call–weighing competing goods is an art, not a science.

    Do you really think David and anti-SSM proponents have NOTHING to weigh? That the case for SSM is so clear cut that there are NO competing social goods?

  15. Roger says:

    It should be emphasized that despite the anti-gay policies of the Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholics are the largest religious demographic in favor of same-sex marriage.

    The laity has simply learned not to pay much attention to the hierarchy on social and political issues.

    I first learned that when I moved to New Orleans. Senator Mary Landrieu always has a difficult time winning election in an increasingly conservative state. Because she is pro-gay and pro-choice, every six years she is denounced by the Archbishop of New Orleans. In 2008, the Archbishop preached a sermon in which he said that any Catholic who voted for her was guilty of sinning. However, she carried heavily Catholic Orleans Parish by more than 90%, which gave her enough of a cushion to go on to win a narrow victory.

    Similarly, despite the Catholic hierarchy inveighing against same-sex marriage in states like Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington, a majority of Catholics in those states support ssm.

  16. Bregalad:

    Children are a red herring in the marriage controversy. While I agree with David Blankenhorn’s conclusion, I disagree with some of his reasoning.

    Regardless of whether or not gays can legally marry, the same heterosexual couples are going to form the same unions that result in the same marriages that crank out the same children and ultimately wind up in the same number of divorces.

    Gays will adopt the same children. There could be more surrogacy (which is terribly risky and expensive) and more children via sperm donation. However there is no way to correlate that to marriage equality. More importantly, I cannot appreciate any way in which gay marriage affects traditional marriage. Most of the explanations that I have seen are concocted to substitute a secular argument for a religious objection.

  17. Matthew Kaal says:

    Roger – I don’t know if there is a papal bull, but there is this from St. Aquinas, who is considered a Doctor of the Faith: Original sin is such a habit. It is the disordered disposition which has resulted from the dissolution of the harmony which was once the essence of original justice, just as bodily sickness is the disordered disposition of a body which has lost the equilibrium which is the essence of health. Original sin is accordingly called the languor of nature.

    David C. Hart –

    Your Bubbe’s position is a sensible one, and one that I would have no problem with any religious traditionalist adopting about marriage. I live in a state that recognizes SSM, and I am not aware of anyone outside the courthouses picketing because most people accept SSM in the way your Bubbe accepted a non-kosher society. I am perfectly content to let my neighbors live their lives, and I’m happy to live in a place that is more liberal on these issues than restrictive because I do see the social goods that come with that liberality. However – I don’t judge others of my neighbors who were outspoken in their opposition to SSM – because I understand that, among my pro-traditional marriage friends, their views were coming from a conception of the good and morality, and a desired for an ordered society, which is in line with their values. I can’t fault them for not approving of something they believe is universally wrong, or their leaders for encouraging them to vote in particular ways – this is a part of how our system works, it is designed to let people vote their principles and beliefs.

    All I can do is encourage them is to live out their lives as neighbors and friends in such a way that it is clear they don’t have animus towards gay people – and in a way that opens doors for them to share their beliefs with anyone truly interesting in hearing what they have to say.

    Zooey – I am out of my three comments too, thanks for a good exchange. Hopefully the conversation will continue elsewhere.

  18. David Lapp says:

    I see that Brian Brown at NOM has issued a statement in response to Pastor Anderson’s comments.

    “The statement by Dr. Anderson is being mischaracterized as implying that gays and lesbians are worthy of death. Dr. Anderson meant no such thing. But just to be clear, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) does not and has never tolerated any statement that the bible justifies any act of violence, intimidation or even incivility toward gay and lesbian individuals. NOM repudiates any statement that gays and lesbians should be subjected to any act or statement that violates their inherent human dignity as people created in the image of God. All Americans are entitled to love and respect and NOM rejects any act or statement to the contrary. NOM is also in agreement with the statement issued by Rev. Derek McCoy of the Maryland Marriage Alliance making clear that the “No on Question 6″ campaign does not condone any acts or statements that violate the dignity of gays or lesbians or anyone’s human rights.”

    You can read the whole thing here:

  19. Phil says:

    David Lapp,

    I appreciate you identifying and calling out the really offensive comments of Robert Anderson.

    I’m curious about a statement you wrote:

    As a Catholic Christian who supports the conception of marriage as between one man and one woman, I find Pastor Anderson’s abuse of Sacred Scripture appalling and his words gravely irresponsible.

    Since you’re clearly connecting your identity as a Catholic Christian to your support of your conception of marriage, I’d like to point out to you that I find your statement here to be unclear. That is, you’re obviously talking about Catholic marriage, but you also appear to be talking about civil marriage. You don’t make any distinction between the two in this paragraph, so I think the following question is justified.

    Do you believe that it is moral for Catholics to attempt to use civil laws to force non-Catholics and non-Christians to follow Catholic Christian doctrine?

    Since you are the person who identifies your beliefs within a religious framework, it appears to me that the answer is “yes,” you believe that it is reasonable or moral for people like you to force nonbelievers to follow your faith. But I think it’s only fair to ask you for clarification.

  20. Roger says:

    Matthew Kaal, I don’t want to debate theology with you, but if the doctrine of original sin means that everyone is disordered, why is it that the Vatican has to issue a special communique saying that homosexuals are especially disordered?

    And if we are all damaged goods because of original sin, why does the Church want to discriminate against some of us but not all of us? (Of course, it has throughout history advocated discrimination against lots of people that it no longer does, so maybe there is hope.)

    I really don’t want to debate with you. You are free to believe whatever you want to believe however distasteful I find such beliefs. What I object to is the Church’s attempting to write its views into civil law.

  21. Zooey Glass says:

    Despite Brian Brown’s statement, NOM routinely fails to “reject any act or statement” that “violates (LGBT people’s) inherent human dignity” by its supporters. I appreciate them making this statement, but it would be nice if they actually lived it.

    And with that, I’m way past my comment limit.

  22. Zooey Glass says:

    Dang it. I can’t seem to quit this conversation. No doubt I’ll get banned soon. Nonetheless:

    David, I asked the question in an earlier comment, “Have you, in your advocacy against SSM, every countenanced, excused, overlooked, or chosen not to challenge anti-gay animus in your allies for the sake of your shared goal?” I recognize that by writing this post, you are pointedly not doing that, and I should have said so.

    But you’ve posted Brian Brown’s statement, in which he asserts that NOM rejects any act or statement that violates gay people’s inherent human dignity, and I can’t let that go unchallenged. I don’t believe NOM has ever rejected this, from NOM ally E. W. Jackson:

    “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex. So they can’t see clearly. Jesus said ‘when the eye is dark the body is full of darkness.’ ….Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”

    There’s much more like that, sadly, here:

    Would anyone deny that this violates gay people’s human dignity? Would anyone claim that this isn’t animus? Would anyone say this isn’t anti-gay, that it’s just pro-traditional marriage? And yet NOM not only fails to denounce this, but draws him in more closely as an ally.

    There is a more nuanced anti-SSM position to take (which of course I disagree with); but I firmly believe that without this kind of anti-gay ugliness, there wouldn’t be much of a constituency for it. This is your coalition in action.

  23. admin says:

    Mr. Glass –

    We’ve been fairly lax in enforcing the 3-comment rule lately because in some threads it is counter-productive to good conversations. If the conversation is being derailed or overwhelmed – that is when we step in and enforce the rule to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute – and we’ll let everyone know.

    If the policy changes we’ll be sure to inform everyone.

    Thanks – the moderator.

  24. [...] Alliance did not call out Pastor Anderson for his gravely irresponsible comments. KEEP READING: Pastor Anderson, You’re Wrong [Family [...]

  25. Kevin says:

    Since the catholic church does not object to legal adultery or legal divorce, may I presume that church doctrine has changed since when I was a child? Back then, the catholic church was opposed to adultery and divorce, based on sound and undisputed tracts from the Bible. However, there have been no church efforts and massive expenditures to outlaw adultery and divorce.

    For reasons that I don’t understand, the catholic church appears to be quite vocal and active in wanting to outlaw same-sex marriage, a topic that is unaddressed in the Bible.

    I don’t track religious issues very close but I wish someone had a brief explanation for why the church supports legal adultery and legal divorce, even though those two things are prohibited in the Bible in no uncertain terms (adultery made the Ten Commandments!), yet the church actively opposes legal same-sex marriage, which is unaddressed in the Bible. I find it confusing. I’m sure there’s a simple explanation that can clear things up for me.

    Oh and since the Bible makes no mention of altering secular laws to conform to biblical rules and regulations, why do people of faith want to try to make laws that reflect biblical values? Isn’t that a bit presumptuous of God’s intentions?

  26. admin says:

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