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Love, American Style

I spent the morning reading the last three Presidential Addresses at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast (2012, 2013, 2014). I liked most of what I read.

I don’t usually follow the President’s speeches at functions like this, but a Facebook friend of mine mentioned something the President said in this year’s speech, and I wanted to check it out.

My friend posts about as many pro-LGBT postings as I do pro-Catholic postings. I hope my friends won’t judge me because of that, and I hope his friends won’t judge him harshly because he has a Catholic friend who is all-in with Catholic teaching.

So anyway, I was reading the Presidential Addresses because my friend posted a portion of his 2014 talk: “We sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, or how they pray or who they love. . .” (emphasis mine).

When I read the full text, I realized that I wouldn’t have made the same connection that my friend made had I been in the audience that day. In the full context, the President seemed to be speaking about other nations which permit these kinds of persecution. It did not seem that he was speaking about a domestic problem. But, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the President really was referring to situations in the United States – and specifically situations in which he feels the LGBT community suffers because of societal homophobia in the name of religion.

I suppose there are many who think that sums up Catholics. They believe we are homophobic bigots.

But when I read the President’s speech and thought about it from the perspective of a domestic issue, it didn’t seem valid. I know that my friend believes it is a valid concern, and in some corners of our society it probably is. But that is not an accurate assessment of Catholic culture within the U.S.

Yes, the Catholic Church has a stance on marriage that is diametrically opposed to that of the LGBT community, but that does not mean Catholics persecute anyone because of “who they love.”

It isn’t about the who. It’s about the what.

Not who one loves, but what one does with that love.

And when the love enters the realm of Matrimony, the Church takes a stand and says, “This is what the Sacrament of Matrimony is and this is what it is not.” If there is persecution in our country, it is the Church that is persecuted because She refuses to accept a new definition of marriage from the secular culture. She believes that marriage is from God. God is not changeable. His truth simply is. And the God-who-does-not-change has not changed his definition of marriage.

Nobody is telling anybody who to love. Each person is free to love anyone he or she chooses. Love is not the problem.

Here is the problem: The LGBT community is telling the culture and the Church who to marry and how to define marriage. And that is wrong.

So, who knows what the President meant when he said the words “who they love” – whether he was referring to intermarriage between a Hindu and a Christian in a country that forbids intermarriage or whether he really was talking about Love American Style and the trending-acceptance of so-called gay marriage.

For those who may see a reference to the domestic battle over marriage in the President’s words, I reiterate. You can love anyone you want to love.

It’s not about love.

It’s about what we do with the love we feel – and what we call that.

That is God’s domain.

Not the President’s domain.


One Comment Post a comment
  1. The consequences of sin or jumping off a cliff are going to be painful, no matter what pleasant new name is given to the act. Thanks be to God for his beacon of love to guide us in all circumstances and for warning us in Holy Scripture where the boundaries are lest we fall.

    February 8, 2014

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