Rainbow flags, teeshirts, and banners were displayed on every possible surface as Americans cheered the Supreme Court’s approval of marriage equality. Newspaper, radio, and internet sources showed celebrations and global gay pride parades as the world rejoiced with America. Love Wins was the slogan shouted loudly from coast to coast.
Casual observers believed that all of America rejoiced in the ruling. Onlookers were led to believe that this was a ruling long overdue and that oppression of homosexuals was akin to slavery and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. America was thrilled, the Supreme Court had put an end to such atrocities. The delight was unanimous.
That is what the modern media outlets would have you believe. What many citizens did not stop to consider was how close the ruling was, 5-4, or the reasons those four judges dissented or why those four judges each thought it was such an important issue that it needed to be addressed by each of them instead of the usual single response.
Those dissenting judges were painted as bigots. Their arguments, drowned out by cheers from the left, went unheard by the general public. In fact, anyone who failed to celebrate the new marriage equality act was drowned out, shut down, made to feel isolated and alone. In some cases, these individuals were harassed as in the case of Father Jonathan Morris who was spit on as he walked by gay pride supporters.
This is not Love. Love did not win here.
Those who did not support the ruling, Christian, Jews, and others, did so because of deeply held religious beliefs. Very few reject the ruling because of a dislike for homosexuals. They reject the ruling because it means demands a loss of religious freedom. We already see military chaplains questioning whether they can preach one man, one woman liturgies, hospitals and schools losing funding, and agencies, like the Archdiocese of Boston, that can no longer provide adoption because it believes the best place for children is in the homes of a married man and woman.
Denying those going into battle his preacher’s best Bible-based, family strengthening sermons; denying education and healthcare based on religious beliefs; and denying children the right to live with loving parents is not love. Spitting on a priest is not love. Love did not win here.
Many will say these are extreme examples, but by making gay marriage the law of the land, America has changed its Constitution, changed the definition of marriage, and endangered the way of life for millions of loving Americans of all races, socio-economic backgrounds, and creeds. This is not Love. Love did not win here.
Changing the definition of a word does not change what the word actually means however. Paraphrasing Leila Miller in her piece, My Answers to Questions About Gay Marriage, if we redefine something that has two hands, hangs on a wall, and tells time, as a “chair” we have not changed what a “clock” actually is or does. The word does not define the object.
The same is true of marriage. Marriage, as the Bible intended, has not changed. It is more than a civil union, more than a government contract, more than a temporary decree delivered at will. Marriage is a sacred union between one man, one woman, and the Lord. Marriage is lifelong. Marriage is a commitment of unbreakable vows. Marriage is a Blessing. Marriage has not changed.
Long before last week’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage however the word marriage was compromised by Christians through government sanctioned programs and promiscuity. It was not the homosexual population that tied marriage to healthcare or tax benefits or any other government programs. The majority of those individuals were Christians. Denying another benefits because of sexual orientation is not Love. Promoting sex outside of marriage in our songs, our movies, even in our children’s relationships is not Love. Believing broken marriages can be settled in court is not Love. How long ago did this brutal attack on marriage begin in earnest in America? Too often, long before this court ruling, Love did not win.
Fortunately, all is not lost. Love is not lost. Love can still win. Dare I say, Love will still win, for we cannot forget that God is Love, or that Love, like marriage, is unchanging. We cannot forget that “(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – Love never fails.”
This weekend, Americans celebrate Independence Day. It is a day to celebrate freedom from Great Britain, but how long will this freedom last and what have we traded Great Britain’s control for? We have sold ourselves little bit by little bit, weakening our words until they become so ambiguous that their entire definitions can be changed.
Weak is needy. Weak is not Love. Weak cannot Love. Catholics around the world, it is time to take a stand, to stop being wishy-washy Catholics. It is time to take a stand in Love and to vote our faith because it is good and strong and it is Love.
This ruling is a dark day in history, but it is also telling us the time is now. We must stop looking at the splinter in the eye of the homosexual community and concentrate on removing the planks from our own eyes, especially when it comes to marriage and to truly living our faith. It is time to truly Love our neighbors as ourselves, not accepting their sins but not denying them mercy or government sanctioned rights either.
Father Jonathan gives us an excellent example of real Love in his response to being spit on. He did not get angry or hide his head in shame. He also did not accept defeat or crumble in self-pity. His was not a response of the weak. His response was on of strength. His response was Love.
There, Love won and many people got to see what true, selfless Love really is. Love will continue to win when we ask the Lord to be Love within us, when we seek to be one with the Lord, when we seek Love first. Only by lighting candles in our own hearts and displaying what Love truly is will we invite Love to win.
We can do this. God did not design us to be weak or needy. God designed us in His image and likeness. God designed us to stand for Him, to have faith in Good over evil, in Light over darkness, in sunshine over rainbows. The Lord knows human beings distorted His definition of marriage only after they distorted His definition of Love. Love does not win too often today, but the Lord, who is Love, designed us to Love, and, in the end, Love will win!