“The only way to make a thing lovable is to wildly love it.” –Ann Voskamp
A few weeks ago, I took on social conservatives in a majorly controversial piece about underage dating. Addressing the socio-political group that traditionally esteems marriage and family, I challenged them to rethink their cultural acceptance of those absurd underage “relationships” that aren’t built around the hope of a future marital commitment. Much to my amusement, some of the harshest critics of the piece weren’t aggrieved social conservatives at all, but liberal readers who took issue with my concern for the sanctity of marriage. Unfortunately, they vented to very little purpose, as the piece was not addressed to their kind at all and made no allowances for their disapproval. In order to broaden the scope of the debate, and give these other voices a fit battleground for the war that they must and will have, this new piece is for you, you critics of marriage, you advocates of “free love,” you untethered scoffers at commitment. This one is for you.
I shall begin by stating my case: you should not have painted over those murals.
“I felt bad,” said 17-year-old Liz Bierendy, the artist who designed the murals, “because I didn’t want to offend anyone.” She had designed a mural series that depicted a young man’s evolution from a child into an adult, and the school vice principal had approved her sketches.
You should not have created a controversy over the two little bands of gold at the top of the design.
Pilgrim High School Superintendent Peter Horoschak explained, " Some members of the Pilgrim High School Community suggested that the depiction of a young man's development as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many students at Pilgrim High School.”
But what is it that has hurt your feelings so badly and who are you that your psyches should be so injured by a highschool student’s pencil sketch of two wedding rings?
“Bierendy's mural aside ,” concludes the Huffington Post, in their coverage of the recent Pilgrim High School debacle, “recent reports indicate that the traditional family dynamic is indeed changing.” (Of course, they are by no means setting Bierendy’s mural aside in making this statement – but I digress) “Today, nearly one in four children are born to parents who live together but aren't married, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Are references to healthy eating to be curbed because obesity is on the rise? Most certainly not! The issue here is not that the national family structure is changing and that our conception of family thus must also change, but that some activists have rejected the culture of marital commitment and want it to change and are determined to change it.
Some conservative writers have taken this occasion to play those games with your people that you play with us. Wrote Tina Korbe in a piece for the New York Post,
“My first thought when I read about Bierendy was of the elephant-dung-smeared image of the Virgin Mary that once hung in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When Christians complained, the common refrain was, ‘What’s the matter? It’s just art.’ One might ask Bierendy’s critics now: ‘What’s the matter? It’s just art.’ ”
But we both know in our heart of hearts that this is not “just art” at all, and that these little word games we play with one another don’t do justice to the enormity of the matter. Korbe’s comparison is logically sound, needless to say, and in a round of good, hard logic we would wipe up the floor with you. But, like the offensive portrayal of the Virgin Mary, the “artwork” at hand is at hand because it hurt somebody in a vulnerable place, hit at them in an unprotected area. What we must figure out is why – why the hostility towards healthy and whole families and hard-loving men and women who stick it out?
The murals came down, in what is perhaps one of the biggest blows that the institution of marriage and the tradition of avowed commitment have ever received in the United States of America. They went back up after a week of bad press and incensed bloggers. But you have done a damage to yourselves that you cannot undo, for you have demonstrated to us that you suffer from an irrational fear of love itself, and that you are remarkably uninformed about how to love.
I shall bow out here and give it to you from one of your own.
He was a dad at fifteen and has four children by three baby-mommas. His dad has “never been in his life,” and he has been arrested on several occasions and has been in the slammer for eight months. In spite of all of this, and in spite of the very ugly nature of most of his music, this artist has remained wildly popular and continues to tops charts. In fact, Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to his awards and nominations. Judging by his lifestyle and the trail of broken things that he has left behind him, Lil Wayne doesn’t love, because he doesn’t ever get beyond himself. But, make no mistake about it: he knows how to love.
WARNING: The following video is graphic and may not be suitable for younger viewers:
Did you catch the wedding rings?