“Ryan is kind of evangelical in his Catholicism,” said Eric Teetsel, an evangelical who heads the Manhattan Declaration, a movement that focuses on marriage, sanctity of life and religious freedom. “He is a true believer and wishes the rest of us would come on board.”
When he was a 29-year-old assistant editor at the conservative Catholic journal First Things,Â Anderson was a leading candidate to head the financially struggling magazine. Both parties decided it was too soon.
Anderson is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Notre Dame. He is developing a thesis on economics and the common good, one he says avoids the popular categories of social welfare or libertarianism.
Vincent Munoz, a political science professor at Notre Dame, said Anderson is one of the brightest students he has ever met. “He possesses a remarkable ability to translate philosophical principles into public arguments,” Munoz said. “Faith is certainly an integral aspect to Ryan, but his arguments are grounded in philosophical reasoning.”
Anderson’s thesis, however, has taken the back burner to the issue of marriage, an issue he sees as in urgent need of defense. “Even though I don’t like talking about it in social situations, I will,” Anderson said. “We have to explain it in a way that makes sense.”
It’s a question he’s addressed at congressional hearings, lectures at law schools and in media interviews following President Obama’s public support for same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s hearings on two gay marriage cases.
Poll numbers that favor the other side don’t dissuade his activism. With a cheerful disposition, he indicates long-term optimism.
“People called Marxism, socialism, the Equal Rights Amendment, now abortion rights inevitable,” he said. “I don’t think anything in life is inevitable.”
KRE/AMB END BAILEY
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