Breitbart.com's Ruse: "It Is A Topsy-Turvy World With Gays On Topsy"
January 13, 2014 11:36 am ET by Luke Brinker
Social conservative activist and commentator Austin Ruse blamed "the gay lobby" for the alleged death of religious liberty in the United States, baselessly asserting that civil marriage for same-sex couples jeopardizes religious freedom and creates "a topsy-turvy world with gays on topsy."
In a January 10 column for The Catholic Thing, Ruse sketched the recent history of the Supreme Court's religious liberty jurisprudence. After a lengthy meditation on the subject, Ruse lamented many religious advocates' abandonment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which required proof of a "compelling state interest" to justify infringements on the free exercise of religion. Somehow, Ruse concluded, RFRA's demise goes to show "how powerful the gay lobby [has] become" (emphasis added):
[A religious liberty coalition] called a meeting on July 22, 1999, around that huge conference table in Washington D.C,, seating upwards of sixty people, at the Veteran of Foreign Wars' headquarters. Sam Casey - now at the Jubilee Campaign, then at the Christian Legal Society - chaired the meeting.
Casey says, "Everyone was there, left, right and center. We had fought together all those years successfully. We had won in the House and were stuck in the Senate and we needed to figure out next steps."
But the meeting opened with Oliver "Buzz" Thomas of the Baptist Joint Committee announcing he had concluded the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which they were meeting to try to restore, was in fact unconstitutional. This despite the fact that he helped formulate it, and had testified in its favor. He then announced his group was leaving the coalition and promptly walked out.
Half the room followed.
At that moment, Casey and the others realized how powerful the gay lobby had become. The new objection from the left was that religious freedom would be used to trump the rights of gays. Such objections were not part of the debate only a few years before. But now they stopped legislation to protect religious believers, and sundered one of the most potent left-right coalitions in U.S. history.
One of the sad ironies in how this has developed is the question of animus. The Smith decision requires complainants to show actual animus towards them for their religious beliefs. On the gay question, however, federal judges and Justice Kennedy have held that religious opposition to gay marriage is on its face evidence of animus toward gays and cannot stand.
It is a topsy-turvy world with the gays on topsy.
Precisely how one figure's opinion on the constitutionality of a statute proves the omnipotence of "the gay lobby" goes unexplained. Nor does Ruse bother to delineate how extending civil marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples infringes on the right of religious conservatives to practice their faith.
But Ruse has a vested interest in conflating anti-gay bigotry with religious liberty. As a pundit for Breitbart.com, Ruse has become the website's go-to anti-gay extremist. In his columns for the website, Ruse has touted Matthew Shepard Trutherism and applauded Russia's draconian crackdown on gay people. Ruse has also defended Russia's anti-gay laws in columns for The Daily Caller. Given his apparent interest in calling out "animus" toward entire categories of people, Ruse might want to start by examining his own body of work.