In the Name of Love
"Man indicted for exposing lover to HIV." The CNN headline would be laughable if it weren't deadly. Love is a word often used, but rarely defined. This causes no end of confusion in discussions about love. As the headline indicates, this confusion is most clearly present in the media equation of homosexuals and love.
The North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), for instance, promotes the sexual expression of love between men and little boys. For these gay men, outlawing such love is age-ist prejudice. These men point out that NAMBLA and other pro-pedophile organizations were long time members in good standing with the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). Oddly enough, the ILGA suddenly reversed its position on man-boy love only when the United Nations stripped the ILGA of its consultative status because its member groups promoted pedophilia. Harry Hay, the founder and leader of the modern gay rights movement, along with many other prominent gay and lesbian activists, publicly demonstrated against the ILGA for its hypocrisy in ousting NAMBLA. The United Nations trusts the integrity of this flagship gay/lesbian organization to such a great extent that it has continued to refuse the ILGA consultative status to this day. Who was right in this debate? It all hinges on what love means.
What is love? Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision. It is a choice. Love is the freely made decision to serve another person or person(s) by giving everything I am to her for the whole of my life. The point of love is to bring the person being loved to perfection. I don't bring her to the perfection I think she should have, rather, I assist her in reaching the standard of absolute perfection she was brought into existence to achieve. In order for me to fully assist her in reaching her goal, I must give everything I am to her. Thus, love is the gift of myself to the person I love. This definition has interesting consequences.
It means that if I marry for love, I am marrying in order to serve someone else. If I marry for love, it does not matter how much I get out of the marriage or whether I grow in the relationship - that's not relevant. Rather, in a love-based marriage my only standard of success is, "How well have I served my spouse? Have I given her everything she needs to grow and mature as a human person?" The feeling of love may not be logical, but the decision to love, to serve, is.
This is important. The emotional surge of love and the logical life of love are distinct. The decision to love may be based on something along the lines of, "I like this feeling, this person I am gazing upon engenders this feeling in me, so I want to stay with this person and keep this feeling." That's a logical decision, but it is based on evidence that is neither logical nor illogical - that is, it is a logical decision based on an emotion, a fact. This is a perfectly reasonable basis for reaching a decision.
However, the life of love endures not on the basis of the feeling, but on the basis of the decision. Once I make the decision to stay, I have to do what is necessary to keep her happy. That means I have to take care of her, serve her. And, as I live year in and year out serving her, I find that the emotion comes and goes, but the decision to serve her is what keeps me there no matter what I feel like on a specific day. So love is expressed in service, in giving myself and my talents entirely to her every day.
For this reason, sex, while it can be a very important part of love, is not a necessary part of love, of service, to the perfection of the person being loved. Indeed, it can be something that gets in the way of love. If sex is likely to harm the person, then it is not an expression of love. That's why spouses have sex with each other, but not their children. As any doctor knows, gay sex is highly unhealthy. It is not an expression of love. Nothing is wrong with gays loving each other. Everything is wrong with gays having sex with each other. Despite the best medical care in the world, gays without AIDS in the US have the life expectancy of someone born in 1871, before antibiotics and sterile surgery were developed. Gays with AIDS are only slightly worse off. Gay sex is not love. It is mutual suicide.
But today, even educated people confuse sex with love. The American Psychological Association said homosexuality was fine thirty years ago. Today, it floats trial balloons for legalizing pedophilia. Its official newsletter, The Psychological Bulletin, has already published articles arguing that pedophilia should no longer be considered a mental disorder. The APA has long argued that an eleven-year old can give informed consent for an abortion (though, after the uproar over it’s pro-pedophilia articles, it now insists that eleven-year olds cannot give informed consent to have sex). Dr. Jocelyn Elders, President Clinton's surgeon general, wrote a glowing forward to Judith Levine’s pro-pedophilia book “Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex", published by the University of Minnesota press.
Gay love, child love if you’re born that way, then society just has to accept it, right? Even if the APA stands on sexual expression were not illogical and contradictory, the group goes beyond its mandate as a scientific organization when it provides value judgements on human actions. Science is in the business of description. It can describe an action and tell us what the physical consequences of that action are. It cannot tell us whether either the action or the consequences are good or bad. That is a socio-cultural judgement, not a scientific judgement. If the APA wants to tell us that homosexuality or pedophilia are good things, then it is acting as a religion, not as a science. Sadly, love is not the only thing the APA does not understand.