Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation is having a big week. The Washington Post featured him as the new voice of the marriage movement. Young, smart, articulate, photogenic.
Naturally, his high school might be interested in what was a largely glowing profile of one of their grads, so the Friends School of Baltimore put the article on its Facebook page. And then, lickety-split, came the backlash and the school folded.
Some students and parents complained because Anderson supports the man-woman definition of marriage, so the headmaster took the article down and scrubbed all comments.
Though he later deleted this message, Head of School Matt Micciche said, “As many of you know, earlier today we posted a Washington Post article profiling a Friends School alumnus who is a prominent legal advocate opposing same-sex marriage. At 5:45 this evening, I removed that post from this page.”
He went on to say the article caused “anguish and confusion.” He said the “nature of [Anderson’s] views goes beyond abstract political ideology and calls into question the fitness of same-sex families to raise children and the right of gay and lesbian citizens to marry the person they love.”
As he was removing the Washington Post story because of the views held by Anderson, the Headmaster reiterated the school’s commitment to the “free flow of ideas” but said “human sentiments” trump that free flow.
Anderson is not only a wildly successful alum of the school with articles and books published, one cited in a Supreme Court decision, he was a well known, well liked and thoroughly rewarded student 15 years ago. He was co-president of the high school and won awards at graduation for athletics, music and academics. He was named the Head of School’s “Bliss Forbush Sr. Award For Spirit of Fellowship Practiced by a Senior Throughout his or her School Life.” And he did all this as a Catholic political conservative at a “left-liberal” Quaker school.
Anderson took to Facebook:
So, let me make sure I understand this. The Washington Post runs a story about a Friends School alumnus and how his work is a model for how to have a conversation about a delicate issue while remaining civil. It even includes glowing quotes from gay rights organizations and pro-gay rights Harvard Law School professors. But sharing this article on the Friends School Facebook page is ‘counter to that goal’ to ‘create a safe, nurturing environment for all the children in our care.’ Really? I would have thought it would have been the entire point of sharing it. What are schools for?
In another even more sharply worded Facebook post he said, “The [headmaster’s] statement displays that the Head of School has absolutely no understanding of my work or my arguments at all. He consistently frames them in the least charitable light possible.”
“The Head of School can’t even seem to understand how the other half of the country thinks about this issue. Friends School is in Baltimore. In 2012, Maryland voted about marriage. The vote was 48-52. How is Friends School preparing students for the future when they can’t even understand the views of half of their neighbors?,” Anderson said.
Anderson described a respectful but ultimately unproductive talk with the Head of School and asked his supporters not to call the school.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse