Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. woke up on Feb. 21 to find that his Amazon bestseller “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” had been removed by Amazon without a note to himself or his publisher.
Anderson, the St. John Paul II Teaching Fellow in Social Thought at the University of Dallas, is the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Most recently, Anderson taught a class on natural law and public affairs at UD over interterm.
In a column in First Things, Anderson argued that the removal of his book coincided with the House’s vote on the Equality Act. The passage of the Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system rather than incorporate those protections on the basis of sex alone.
“Now, three years after publication, in the same week that the House of Representatives plans to ram through the Equality Act—a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964—Amazon has erased my book opposing gender ideology from its cyber shelves,” Anderson wrote.
On Feb. 25, the House voted to pass the Equality Act and is now awaiting a vote in a tied Senate. 60 votes are needed to pass the Equality Act in the Senate, should Republican senators filibuster the proposed legislation.
“If the Equality Act became law we should fully expect legal actions to be taken against UD because of its unwavering commitment to what both faith and reason reveal to be true about the dignity of the human person as embodied male or female,” Anderson wrote in an email to The University News.
“Both Big Government and Big Tech can be threats to rightly ordered liberty, human dignity and human flourishing. And while economic liberty is important, all liberties have limits. Crafting prudent and effective laws to limit Big Tech’s power will be key.”
As reported in The University News on Feb. 1, a transgender alum, Bethany Beeler, sent an open letter to the University calling for the removal of the chair of the Politics department David Upham, Ph.d, due to his online comments regarding a transgender nominee to the Biden administration.
Following the controversy, President Thomas Hibbs and Provost and incoming president Jonathan J. Sanford put out a joint statement in which they reminded the community that the university was “not in the business of limiting the speech of our faculty and staff when they speak on personal social media sites.”
“If anyone is wondering whether we uphold Catholic teaching, we do. Our Catholic identity and fidelity to its teachings is at the core of our mission. The university embraces unreservedly the Church’s articulation of the moral law, including its articulation of those truths that deal with the embodied nature of the human person and human sexuality,” they wrote.
While the University upholds its fidelity to Catholic values, Hibbs and Sanford posited a commitment to civil rights.
“If anyone is wondering whether we will protect the civil rights of all the members of our community, we can say unequivocally that we will. UD endeavors to respect the intrinsic dignity of each and every person in a spirit of truth and charity,” they wrote.
In his email to The University News, Anderson responded to UD’s response to Upham’s comments and Beeler’s letter.
“Thank God for places like UD. They’ll be more important than ever in the coming years. Both to allow professors to conduct vital research and speak important truths, and to provide a formation for students unavailable almost anywhere else,” Anderson wrote.
The University News reached out to Clare Venegas UD’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Luciana Milano UD’s Title IX director regarding the passage of the Equality Act and how it might affect UD in the future, but both declined to comment at this time.
Gladden Pappin Ph.D., assistant professor of Politics and deputy editor of American Affairs discussed the threat censorship poses to free speech in an email interview.
“The censorship of Dr. Anderson’s book by Amazon and Apple shows how touchy ‘woke capital’ is at the slightest threat to its power. For Christians, the truth will always remain: ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,’” Pappin wrote in an email.
“With actions such as these, Amazon and Apple are making the first moves in a larger project of suppressing the truth about human nature,” Pappin said. “As the Catholic Church gives witness to the same truths of nature, we must be onguard lest such efforts begin to target universities and other Catholic associations.”