Columnists Life will be victorious

Column: Equating interracial with same-sex marriage is false advertising

Life will be victorious

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

If you watch television at all, you have no doubt seen an ad entitled: “Love Has No Labels.” The 60-second version of the ad first shows the X-ray image of two individuals kissing romantically. When the individuals come around from behind the screen, the viewer is made aware that they are both women. The words on the screen declare: “Love has no gender.”

Next, the ad depicts the X-ray image of a couple dancing. They come around the screen showing it is an interracial couple with the printed words: “Love has no race.”

Next, the ad shows two smaller X-ray figures making playful gestures. Two young girls come from behind the screen, one of whom has a disability. The screen has the words: “Love has no disability.”

Next, we see three X-ray figures: two adults and one child. When they come around the screen, it is a young boy and two men who kiss each other with the words on the screen again: “Love has no gender.”

In the final clip, two men who are dressed in different religious garb shake hands and embrace, one of them stating we are neighbors and best friends. The words on the screen are: “Love has no religion.”

The ad concludes with one of the women from the first segment simply saying: “Love is love.” In the background, the words of St. Paul’s poetic description of love are being recited: “Love is patient. Love is kind. . . .”

“Love Has No Labels” was created by the Ad Council that was begun during World War II to promote war bonds and patriotism. Since then, the Ad Council has produced numerous successful public service media campaigns such as Smokey the Bear and Wildfire Prevention, Drunk Driving Prevention, and Seat Belt Safety. The Ad Council is skilled at creating messaging that helps to shape public opinion. The “Love Has No Labels” campaign is listed on its website under the category of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Love Has No Labels” is a slick and an effective ad. It speaks to the universal need for friendship and love. However, the fact that two of the five segments are focused on homosexual relationships is not accidental. This campaign was developed in the context of the public debate regarding the redefinition of marriage.

The “Love Has No Labels” campaign takes advantage of the many meanings of the word love in the English language. Love can mean friendship. Love can mean the affection between brothers and sisters. Love can be a descriptor for the relationship between neighbors or fellow parishioners or the affection children have for their parents and vice versa. However, love also can mean a relationship in which there is sexual intimacy. The very act of sexual intercourse is described as love, e.g., making love.

“Love Has No Labels” cleverly associates gay and lesbian lovers with a young girl who loves her disabled sister or two men who have developed a strong friendship, even though they come from different faith traditions.

Even more powerfully, the ad associates same-sex marriage with interracial marriage. It was common in the not-too-distant past, because of racial bigotry, for a large segment of the American population to oppose interracial marriage. The not so subtle implication of the ad is that to be opposed to same-sex marriage today must spring from a similar type of bias or bigotry.

The problem with the logic of that argument is that the acceptance of interracial marriage did not require a redefinition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia across cultures and societies. Religious and moral considerations aside, why have homosexual relationships never before in the history of humanity been equated with a marital relationship? First of all, homosexual relations are in opposition to the physical design of the body. Secondly, homosexual relations are incapable of engendering new human life.

If the Ad Council wants to do our culture and society a real service, I suggest that they devote their creative energies to an advertising campaign that encourages the virtue of chastity. Many of our current societal problems are a result of our cultural rejection of chastity as a good or even a quality that is desirable.

Many people confuse chastity with celibacy. Celibacy is the free choice to abstain from all sexual activity, including a commitment not to marry. On the other hand, chastity is sexual conduct that is consistent both with the physical design of our bodies and with our state of life.

It is only in the marital covenant where a heterosexual couple has pledged fidelity to a spouse for the rest of their lives that sexual intercourse is true and authentic. Why? Because only in this context does what a couple expresses to each other physically — the total and complete gift of themselves — correspond to what they have committed to do by their wedding vows with their entire lives. Moreover, it is the marital covenant that provides the optimum environment for a child to be welcomed into the world.

As Catholics, we believe that every human being needs friendship. We all need close relationships where we experience support, affirmation and affection. Each of us, in this sense, needs to give and receive love.

One of the prevailing cultural myths is that human beings need to be sexually intimate in order to be happy. This is simply not true and there is overwhelming evidence that being sexually active does not equate to happiness. In reality, just the opposite is true when one engages in sexual activity that is not honest.

The topics raised in the “Love Has No Labels” campaign cannot be adequately addressed in 60-second sound bites. Nor can they be sufficiently explored in thousand-word newspaper columns. Stay tuned. Next week, I want to continue to reflect upon these important moral and cultural issues.

About the author

Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Joseph F. Naumann is the archbishop for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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1 Comment

  • Thank you for saying this. I find the lovehasnolabels messages unhealthy and un-bliblical. There have always been bounds and limits to our affections. Pedophilia is one such boundary, bestiality is another, polyamory is another, homosexuality is another. No one, who considers the evidence, can argue that these “choices” are good for society. Rules for the road, prevent accidents and save lives. To think there are no rules to love and relationships is simplistic and damaging to society. Moral anarchy does not produce healthy people and cultures. A causal look at history will confirm this. Apparently the lessons of history and the facts of the matter, make no differences to those pushing moral anarchy.