Upon hearing the supreme court decision, the president tweeted “Love wins”. We think it is important to remember, love has no gender, but marriage does. – Al Kresta

Love

Here is an outstanding video from those who are opposed to the Catholic way of life. This is worth watching because it shows the propagandistic skill of our opponents. They don’t see themselves as propagandists but as activists, marketers, opinion-makers. Take a look and then read my comments afterwards. I think they give insight into what we are up against not only on the homosexual so-called marriage issue but on modern communications.

This is amazing propaganda. It does what propaganda does. It discourages critical reflection and tries to make any contrary propositions appear foolish before they can be uttered. Who can disagree with the power of love? Advertisers like Subaru and Pepsi have sold products with the language of love. Why shouldn’t gay activists? Especially when the political issue is marriage.

Like propaganda, it works to marginalize those who would disagree. It prefers mob sentiment to the individual’s reason because it knows that a mob’s emotion is a powerful animal and any individual person’s resisting intellect is too weak to tame or successfully bring the beast to heel.

Their video works beautifully because it assumes a big shared truth that no one can deny [Love conquers all] and then pushes that truth in service to a political agenda. Politics’ most basic question is: how ought we to order our lives together? For the makers of this video, Love is without question the organizing principle of society. Their definition of “love” is how we ought to order our lives together.

Catholics largely agree that Love, i.e., “the willingness to act in ways that serve the true best interests of another” – is fundamental for the common good and the good society. We disagree about the narrowness of their definition. They define love in romantic terms and then try to give it universal application.

They will ultimately fail because love, to them, is mere romance and that is not a foundation for organizing our lives together. Justice, for instance, requires me to render everyone or everything their due whether or not I am moved by romantic sentiment. When seen in this proper light this video is as much fun and as corny, schmaltzy, predictable and domesticated as a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie. It is the conclusion of almost all romantic comedies except that these producers want to appear profound not comic. The great theme is “Love wins out in the end overcoming the disabilities, distances, religions, biases that kept the star-crossed lovers from landing in one another’s embrace.” Wow. Pass the popcorn and give me a squeeze, honey.

Only a Catholic understanding of Love illustrated by Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of even his enemies is the kind of social glue that can hold us all together. Only Christ on the cross with arms outstretched to receive everyone regardless of gender, disability, looks, wealth, etc. can model the acceptance necessary for St. John Paul II’s “civilization of love” that Carl Anderson wrote about at length in a book of the same name.

This video is certainly meant to persuade but it isn’t meant to get anyone to think. It intends to engineer assent through sheer feeling.

I’d love to reenact this and bring out Ted Bundy to hug Charles Manson or Stalin to embrace Hitler. That would break the spell and give the lie to their very limited understanding of love. Jesus hugging Judas wouldn’t be bad either.

I especially like “Love has no religion.” The irony is almost too much to bear. It is exactly the Hebrew Christian tradition that has elevated love to be the central concern this video claims it is. While love plays a part in most religions, only Christianity says “God IS love.” God isn’t merely loving. Love is his essence.

The proper climax to this video would probably be an illustration that God is Love. But that couldn’t happen in their view of the world. To say that God is love means introducing the Person who transcends all categories and forces us all to look up towards His majesty. What they want, however, is for us to look around at our own kind in all our diversity. They want a purely horizontal world and won’t permit the vertical dimension. By doing so they limit love to finite human experience rather than the far more threatening and challenging intimacy with the source of life and the universe. They limit the mystery of existence to its horizontal dimension. Because it is finite, it will eventually be boring. Only the infinite assures us of continual curiosity, surprise and wonder.

The producers of this video could never have made this message appealing prior to the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, we have the moment in world history where sacrificial love becomes the ethical gold standard. Nothing is higher than a morality of love after the coming of Jesus.

Prior to Christianity, the virtues of mercy and pity, loving enemies, were largely regarded as vices. Plato, for instance, taught that the unhealthy should be eliminated because they could not work and justify their own existence. No mercy. Seneca encouraged infancticide for the same reason. However, once the Church becomes the soul of the world, at least the Western world, this approach is considered barbaric. Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person won’t justify such treatment of our kind.

The producers of this video are like ungrateful children. They live off the capital Christianity has invested in our culture over 2,000 years while refusing to acknowledge the source of their own well-being and good fortune. The universal love they are reaching for is not natural to the human condition. This video could not have been made in the Islamic world. It wouldn’t have much appeal in a Buddhist or Hindu culture. This message works in a post-Christian culture where we still celebrate the memory of an obligation to love universally. They are living off the residual sentimentality of a once Christian people. What happens when the society finally says, “Why should we love one another?” Who says? You can’t force me to…What happens next?

Al