“Love is love” is a slogan that assuages all sexual sin.
If “love is love” is the new moral standard, then adultery, promiscuity, bestiality, and a number of other sexual sins are not only justifiable, they are permissible.
This is because “love is love” falsely elevates sexual sin to a morally superior position, where anyone who stands opposed to the assumed “love is love” standard, is belittled as “unloving and immoral”.
Heterosexuals who spout “love is love” know that in the current climate, “love is love” covers a multitude of sexual sin, so why not jump on the bandwagon? Especially when embracing the slogan enables them to pursue an anything-goes ethos.
In light of this, it’s easy enough to see how the widespread support and use of the “love is love” slogan isn’t as altruistic or as selfless as it seems. From this perspective, heterosexual support for same-sex marriage, and homosexuality, in general, is pure self-centeredness.*
In the words of psychiatrist Karl Menninger, “the lure of profit exceeds the prestige of prophet.”[i]
Pornography also contributes. Many a breakup and the continuing dysfunction of marriages can be attributed to the mythic, false and distorted view that pornography creates in men, about women and sex.
What’s more, these points uncover just how asinine the “love is love” slogan is.
Love cannot define itself. Love is defined by God. Love comes from who God is. He cannot be anything, or anyone other than who He is.
The very fact that God is love means we cannot say in reverse that love is God. The noun precedes the verb, not the reverse.
Love is defined by the One who exists outside of humanity. His love enters time and space, and graciously seeks out a relationship with us.
Love is defined by the One who comes to humanity from outside itself, as both grace and command. God is love and He presents knowledge about Himself to humanity, through His covenant with Israel, and by His revelation in Jesus Christ.
Love is defined by the One who seeks a human response, the One who builds life and gives order to creation; the One who doesn’t abandon His creation to its own inclinations, or the terror of the abyss. In the words of John, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19, ESV).
This is the ‘sovereignty of His love’, which doesn’t ‘exercise mechanical force, to move the immobile from without, [or] to rule over puppets or slaves, but rather to triumph in faithful servants and friends, not in their overthrow, but in their obedience, in their own free decision for Him.’
The ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ liberates humanity from subjective, abstract and artificial alternatives. We are emancipated from the burden of the oppressor, who defines love by whatever he or she decides it should or could be.
To borrow from G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy, those who seek to define love by itself, seek the moon, and its morbid light. Then in confusion, ponder about why it doesn’t produce life. Leading G.K.C to conclude: hence, ‘the moon is the mother of lunatics and has given them all her name.’
The individual who jettisons the ‘the sovereignty of God’s love’ from love inevitably asserts a definition of love made in their own image and desires.
Under the “love is love” slogan, no one is allowed to challenge this definition. Any reasoned disagreement outside this abstract idea of love is measured as an act of hatred, betrayal and treachery – anti-love.
Therefore, to assert that God is love is to enter into a revolt against it.
As a revolt, it asserts that love is not Lordless. Love is not meaningless or without purpose. Love is defined by what God does, and what God does comes from who God is.[ii]
Love cannot define itself any more than the slave or abused child can define freedom. The sin of others has distorted their view of the world. Lies replace truth. They’ve been taught to believe the abuse he or she receives at the hands of their oppressor is normal. In this way, “love is love” fails the oppressed and gives legitimacy to the oppressor. Love that defines itself negates itself.
Alternatively, the ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ encompasses both His “yes” and “no”. God’s “yes” to the genuinely oppressed, raises humanity up to challenge the claims of the oppressor. In this way, God’s firm “yes” and loving “no” to the oppressed and the oppressor is an outworking of His sovereignty. Love is not Lordless.
That God is love, means love cannot be love without God at its center.
Likewise, human freedom grounded in love cannot be true freedom without the One who loves in freedom. It cannot be true freedom without the ‘God who frees man and woman to be free for Him and free for each other.’[iii]
Without God, love becomes a cheap commodity, whose meaning is traded and swapped for whatever sells best. Love is downgraded to emotion, sex, money and the satisfying of an individual’s selfish desires.
“Love is love” is newspeak; a tool used to uphold human claims to ownership of what love is. Love is then determined to be anything the oppressor wants it to be.
Roger Scruton helps to brings this into clearer focus, noting the Communist practice of controlling language and meaning, under ‘the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words […] The purpose of communist Newspeak, has been to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things.'[iv]
For example, if the slogan “love is love” is taken to its logical end, aren’t the obscenely wealthy, or the national socialists justified in their love for money, nation or race, and to hell with the consequences?
If “love is love” justifies lifestyle choices, such as its promotion as a legitimate argument for same-sex marriage, then doesn’t “love is love” justify servitude to a Führer, the State, and his/her ‘ism, and the reign of terror that often follows?
In light of this, aren’t “love is love” advocates, especially those who protest crony capitalists, who love their money, in the end just hypocrites selling something no one should ever want to buy?
Under this shadow, “love is love” is lordless, abstract, confused and empty. “Love is love” is a cover-up, and like all self-justification, “love is love” is proven to be a lie.[v] It cannot sustain a working definition of what love actually is.
The first cause of change in attitudes towards homosexuality and same-sex marriage is the erosion of heterosexual marriage. This erosion includes the downgrade, and dismissal of Biblical theology which asserts that God is love and that under ‘the sovereignty of His love’, ‘woman is free for man, man is free for woman, and together both are free for God’. This comes by way of the covenant fulfilled in The Gospel, where, in His costly reconciling of humanity to Himself in Jesus Christ, God proves who and what love is.
“Love is love” is no substitute for this. It is no substitute for the One who was, and is, and is to come.
[i] Menninger, K. 1973. Whatever Became of Sin? Hawthorn Books Inc.
[ii] Barth, K.1942 CD II/II: The Election of Jesus Christ Hendrickson Publishers p.178
[iii] Barth, K. 1951 CD III.IV The doctrine of creation Hendrickson Publishers pp.170-180
[iv] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing, (p.8)
[v] Torrance, T.F. 2008. Incarnation: The Person & Life of Christ, IVP Academic
* I don’t doubt that there are sincere believers in the slogan, the evidence provided by James, however, suggests that such believers might be few and far between.