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09/29/2011

'The only causes that die': NOM's convenient quote, reconsidered

by Jeremy Hooper

Consider these words:

"Love is so strong it surpasses narrowness by devotedness and forgetfulness of self. In history, the only causes that die are those for which men refuse to die. The more love grows, the more its eyes open to the needs of others, to the miseries of men, and to compassion. The remedy for all the sufferings of the modern brain lies in the enlargement of the heart through love, which forgets itself as the subject and begins to love the neighbor as the object. But he who lives for himself will eventually find that nature, fellowman, and God are all against him. The so-called "persecution complex" is the result of egotism. The world seems against him who wants everything for himself."

Now consider the concepts mentioned in this passage:

Putting love before self: The modern marriage equality movement is driven by this notion. Equality activists have paused their lives to take on this fight, because those who know the rightness and righteousness of the cause know that it is too important to not take on. We know that it is much bigger than any one of us. It's for the future. For the next generation. For love.

Increasing love, not diminishing it: Equality activists are pushing for more love, more rights, more peace. Anti-equality activists wantonly diminish others' bonds. That's the fight.

Being open to the needs of others and to compassion: Equality activists, be they personally invested or virtuously allied, are focused on the compassionate treatment of all citizens. Groups who push things like marriage bans are seeking the dispassionate limitation of other families' needs, wants, and deserved rights. Those are the stakes.

Love the neighbor: Equality activists are striving to build more loving, more understanding communities. Few equality activists are saying that every neighbor has to accept every kind of couple -- far from it, in fact. What we are saying is that groups who disagree with gays don't have the right to impose their personal beliefs on their neighbors, which is what the equality movement's opposition groups so obviously want to do.

A "persecution complex" that results form egotism: See NOM's "Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance," or any of the popular victimization tactics that the organized "protect marriage" movement uses. The "traditional marriage" crowd has ratcheted up their movement's own self-worth to the point where any bit of reasoned pushback is portrayed as persecution. That movement's self-ascribed egotism has exonerated them from any and all scrutiny, or so they think.

Okay, so why did I just break all this down? Well, because the National Organization For Marriage has just posted an abbreviated form of Fulton J. Sheen's words to its organizational Facebook wall:

Screen Shot 2011-09-29 At 9.34.58 Am
National Organization For Marriage [Facebook]

And so I just want to remind NOM and everyone else: When you flesh out the words (and world) a little further, the roles can be cast a little differently. And when history ultimately fleshes itself out, as it always does, the causes that tend to die are the ones that defined themselves by refusal.

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