In an interview with CNA, Anderson—a prominent speaker and author on marriage, sexuality, religious freedom, and natural law—offered advice for Catholics on discussing issues such as abortion and gender ideology, and pointed to saints who could serve as models for this evangelization.
The interviewed followed Anderson’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where he argued that appeals to religious freedom are insufficient for success in the “culture wars.”
Religious Americans increasingly find themselves fighting coercive government mandates that violate their consciences, he noted, such as taxpayer-funded abortion or having to accept gender ideology. In these cases, many Americans appeal to their religious freedom as a defense—but they should also be seeking to bring others to their side, he said.
“We’ll have the best shot at winning fights over abortion restrictions or child sex-change procedures when conservatives are willing to assert that their beliefs are true, not merely protected in law,” Anderson said.
The “culture wars” are not merely religious, Anderson told CNA in an interview.
The Supreme Court last summer ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that civil rights protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, social conflicts could arise that are not just religious, but deal with basic questions of human nature.
For instance, biological men identifying as transgender women could cite the court’s ruling to use women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, or homeless shelters despite the concerns of other women using those facilities, Anderson said. They could participate in women’s sports against the wishes of their female competitors. They could demand that a doctor help them transition, even if the doctor thinks the procedure is harmful.
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These scenarios do “raise religious liberty concerns,” Anderson said, “but first and foremost they get the human person wrong—for everyone.”
As a response, Catholics must witness to the truth of the human person, he said, “proposing a more excellent way, in season and out,” than what the culture claims is true.
“This will entail basic evangelization and catechesis on theology, while also drawing from the best of biology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy” among other disciplines, he said, “to show that there is no tension between faith and reason.”