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viewpoint

SCOP stands against hate

| Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stand Against Hate Week has concluded, but Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) thinks it worthwhile to continue to think about what it means to hate — and surely we’re not alone in that. Certainly not meaning to label those who disagree with us as haters (last time we checked, the number of Domers in ISIS was zero), SCOP thinks it fitting at a university to continue to reflect on what it is to hate.

We might think of hate, and love, as nothing other than emotions. Love is what Marius feels when he is with Cosette in Les Misérables. Hate is what Voldemort feels against, well, just about everyone in Harry Potter.

This has to be incomplete, though. Exactly what about the feeling that Marius has for Cosette is different from the feeling “Gladiator”’s emperor Commodus has for his sister? Does Leonidas from “300” feel different or less fury than Voldemort? The feelings of Marius and Leonidas seem laudable while those of Commodus and Voldemort do not. Unless we say that love is not always good, we would seem to need more than feelings to define love and hate, its opposite.

Maybe it’s noteworthy that Marius and Voldemort don’t simply sit around experiencing emotions. They act, which is to say, they will things to happen. Maybe, then, loving and hating are actions. Perhaps loving is willing good things and hating is willing the deprivation of good things. On this account, to hate a person is to make it one’s deliberate purpose that the person be deprived of some good. If I hate a person, I will that he or she be worse off. And as both Socrates and Jesus teach, this is always wrong.

If to hate is to will the deprivation of good things, then standing against hate turns us to thinking about good things. What things are good in themselves for human persons? Physical health is a good thing. Certainly, it’s good just to know something. Then again, it’s also good to perform skillfully, whether on a test, at football or in dance. Living with integrity and authenticity is surely good, and it’s good to live in community with friends. Another available good is living out a comprehensive sexual union. Finally, it is good to live in harmony with the greater-than-human source of order and meaning in the universe.

By this logic, then, to choose as one’s purpose that someone be deprived of any of the goods above is to hate that person, and that person could be anyone, even oneself. Suicide, as willing the deprivation of one’s own life, is self-hate. Lying, as willing the deprivation of one’s own authenticity, is a different kind of self-hate. Adultery or any other act that deprives oneself of participation in comprehensive sexual union (exclusive, permanent, procreative) is self-hate. (Need I add that simply dying, failing to communicate effectively and living celibately are not self-hate, since they’re not choices against any goods?)

Perhaps it’s worth dwelling on a more particular possible example of hate. Let’s take that mouthful of a term, “comprehensive sexual union.” The good here is the union of male and female in a total sharing of life. It is total or comprehensive in that it unites mind, emotion and body, and thus unfolds into family life. Sexual complementarity makes bodily union possible. We might say, then, that we have sexual complementarity to thank for this one of many human goods that might contribute to a fulfilling life.

Sadly, as much as any other, this good may be made the object of deprivation — of hate. One could will the deprivation of comprehensive sexual union (what has long been known as marriage) by choosing to thwart or otherwise undermine true marital union as such. We could count the ways.

It’s more important, though, to repeat that a person does not hate by not marrying. Let none of our fellow unmarried Domers (including priests!) take us to mean otherwise. On this view, what is hateful is to choose an action deliberately aimed at depriving oneself or another of living out the comprehensive sexual union of male and female.

Every single human being has dignity that we harm by hating. Opposed to hating of every kind for every reason, SCOP stands particularly against hating of the sort that wills the deprivation of the good of marriage, which is comprehensive sexual union. In doing so, SCOP joins Fr. Jenkins in calling to “love one another and together build a less imperfect community of love” (“Same-sex couples to receive benefits,” Oct. 16).

Tiernan Kane

president

Students for Child Oriented Policy

Tim Bradley

treasurer

Students for Child Oriented Policy

Nov. 12

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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