“We press play, don’t press pause, Progress, march on! With a veil over our eyes, we turn our back on the cause. ‘Till the day that my uncles can be united by law…a certificate on paper isn’t going to solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start…whatever God you believe in we come from the same one, strip away the fear, underneath, it’s all the same love. About time that we raised up! Love is patient, love is kind. Love is patient, love is kind…”
These are some of the lyrics of an enormously popular song by hip-hop artist Macklemore called Same Love. The song, which has gone viral with nearly fifty million views of the music video version, is about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Over the past few weeks a number of young people have brought up the song in conversation. Just yesterday a twenty-two year old relative of mine, asked me if I had ever heard the song. He raised the question in the context of a discussion we were having about same-sex marriage. He pointed out that it is not only a very catchy song and fun to listen to, but that it is confusing because the story it tells is that true love, God’s love, embraces same-sex marriage.
In fact, Macklemore ends the song by repeating words from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind,” which is arguably the most famous passage on love in the entire Bible. In essence, what he is saying is, to love like Jesus loves, the love that is patient and kind, the love that is the opposite of “hate,” is a love that celebrates homosexual acts and fights for the legalization of same-sex marriage. That’s the argument.
It’s essentially the same argument, without explicit appeal to the New Testament, that Justice Anthony Kennedy presented in the decision of the majority of justices on the Supreme Court who struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as being defined by one man and one woman. Justice Anton Scalia summarized the majority opinion this way: “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated.”
Indeed, the truth about love is more complicated. From a Catholic point of view, there is no love without the truth. Love and truth always go together. In his homily during the canonization of Edith Stein, Pope John Paul II said that St. Teresa Benedicta, the “martyr of love,” taught us all that “love and truth have an intrinsic relationship,” and that “love and truth need each other.”
The truth love seeks is the good of the other. That is, to love someone means that I will their good. I want what is best for them. What is best for every person is what will lead to genuine human flourishing and this only happens when we “live the truth.” That is, when live the life we were made to live, when we recognize how God made us, and live in accord with his plan for our lives.
Pope John Paul continued: “St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all: Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”
This is why St. Paul, in the very passage Macklemore quotes, says that love “does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right” (1 Corinthians 13:6). What Macklemore and so many others are demanding is that in the case of active homosexuality and same-sex marriage, in order to love, we must “rejoice in what is wrong.”
*Stay tuned for True Love – Part II which will focus on the Church’s Teaching and the ‘Dictatorship of Relativism*