“I should be able to love whomever I want”–Really?

I think I’ve made this observation before, but the problem is not the redefinition of “marriage”; it’s the redefinition of “love.”
The foundational argument for “same sex marriage,” the premise that makes even many otherwise pro-life Christians nod their heads in agreement, is “I should be able to love whomever I choose.”  As soon as somebody–whether it’s Phil Robertson or Rick Santorum or whomever–points out the obvious implications of that argument, people scream “bigotry!”, “Slippery slope!”  and so forth.

I’ve never understood why “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy, since it is precisely how things so often work (a friend pointed out once that it’s a deductive fallacy but not an inductive fallacy, which makes more sense).  Anthony Kennedy’s argument in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that people have the right to decide for themselves whether the unborn baby is a “blob of tissue” or a “person” was the same argument he used to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Supreme Court’s decisions about “gay marriage” in June 2013 have been quickly followed by moves to legalize polygamy (though, I would argue, Catholic ethics notwithstanding, that that would be a step in the right direction from our current situation of serial divorce and remarriage, as the author I link suggests) and efforts to normalize pedophilia have already begun.

So much for “that’s just a slippery slope argument.”  However, the slope began when we redefined “love” as “romantic feelings.”  The premise “Shouldn’t someone be able to love whomever they choose?” sounds good on the surface, but it’s quite a leap from that to “Shouldn’t someone be able to marry whomever they choose?”  In between are several presumptions.
It all goes back to the redefinition of love.

1.  “Love” does not necessitate “marry.”  That should be obvious.  We are called to “love” everyone, including our enemies.  That does not necessitate marrying them.   Marital love is supposed to be about learning how to love other people.  Ideally, marriage should be based upon a combination of attraction, friendship and practicality, but, sometimes, marriage is exactly the milieu, like the family, in which we learn to “love our enemies.”

Marie and Frank Barone, _Everybody Loves Raymond_

“Didn’t I teach you anything? You got a problem with your woman, you don’t go out and get another one. Then you got two problems.” –Frank Barone

2.  “Love” does not necessitate “have sex with.”  One of the ways the normalization of same sex attraction has effected “heterosexuals” is that it’s impossible to just be friends: look at the efforts to turn every fictional friendship into a sexual relationship.  This was already a problem a few generations ago, as C. S. Lewis discusses in _The Four Loves_.

Holmes and Watson

Like these guys

3.  As St. Gianna Molla put it so succinctly, “Love is a choice.”  You *can* love whomever you *choose*.  But the lie of “choice” in the same sex argument, like the lie of “choice” in abortion, is that they claim the right to choose somethiexng they say they have no choice about.

4.  Love is not a feeling.   People these days define love as “how someone makes me feel.”  “I love you” comes to mean the same thing as “I love spaghetti.”  Love becomes entirely about the subject, and the object of the love becomes just that, an object for use, whether it’s a food or another person (this is of course the standard Catholic argument on all these subjects, and I’ll be accused of “parroting,” I’m sure).

Karol Cardinal Woytyla, _Love and Responsibility_

When we see love in the light of those conditions, it takes way the argument that one’s choice of a marriage partner should be based primarily upon attraction.  All of the madness in our society comes from a failure to understand “love.”

“I love you” is not about how “you” make “me” feel; it’s about how “I” make “you” feel.

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3 responses to ““I should be able to love whomever I want”–Really?

  1. Theodore Seeber

    The problem isn’t attraction and instinct, it’s a destruction of love down to only lust.

  2. Exactly.

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