Briefly

Briefly is a regular column of this blog; its posts are published on Sundays. In this column an original essay or original short story is written by Edward Fagan.

The word “Love”is one of the most cherished and regularly used words in the world, in all languages. It also seems to be one of the least understood and most actively misused words.

We can get a clearer understanding of the meaning and nature of this word so that we might practise love more correctly.

We’ll start with the correct, though different, definition of the word. Love is outgoing care and concern for the other person.  It is necessary to know that love exists through action. We give and receive love through the actions we perform toward each other.

Whenever outgoing care and concern for the other person are practised, this active practical love (the outward expression of the inner quality) will always indicate the presence in us, of love the inner quality.

In terms of language, love is both a verb and an abstract noun. Both love in action, expressed and practical, and love, the inner quality, are spiritually good. Love is a good spiritual quality which can be a permanent trait of our character during every moment of our existence.

When love, the inner quality, is present in us we practise love, the expressed action toward others. When this happens, our outgoing care and concern toward others will aim at helping their person, or their circumstances, or both.

Whenever love is practised, it builds where building is necessary or repairs that which is broken. Love helps, gives to, cherishes, protects, maintains and preserves the other person and their circumstances.

Love never leads to harm or destruction of the other person. It is therefore impossible for someone to truthfully claim that they killed or even harmed their spouse in the name of love.

We experience the presence of love, the good spiritual quality, when we practise it toward others, and when others practise it toward us.

Our response to our experience of the presence of love as givers or recipients may be accompanied by our experiencing a certain emotional state. This may result in the expression of one or another type of emotional behaviour. This happens, for example, in romance and marital situations.

Love is always permanent; emotional experience and expression are temporary, they come and go, they are not love.

They are, in a way, similar to sexual foreplay and sexual intercourse which, even though they are not love, are activities through which a husband and wife can express their love to each other.

There is a course of behaviour that can get in the way and prevent us from practising love. This course of behaviour can be avoided if we uphold certain practices that are opposite to it, in our daily living.

The practices we can uphold in our daily living to prevent behaviour that obstructs the practice of love include:

Honouring our parents, as well as others in authority over us, and our elderly

Avoiding to commit murder, and avoiding to harm the other person physically or otherwise

Practising faithfulness to the other person with whom we have a romantic or marital relationship

Refusing to steal from the other person

Speaking the truth or remaining silent about the other person, instead of telling lies against him or her

Refusing to covet that which belongs to the other person, and refusing to practise envy or jealousy toward him or her.

Love, or outgoing care and concern for the other person, whenever it is practised, always faithfully serves its intended purpose and bears fruit. The practice of love can be the backbone of all human relationships if we would allow this to happen; and it can be of great spiritual and other benefit to individuals and groups alike, wherever and whenever it is practised.

By Edward Fagan

There are occasions when politicians from both parties in a two party system should stand up together for a common cause. One such occasion when this bipartisan approach was necessary was following the striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United Sates (SCOTUS).

(Section 3 of DOMA is known to relate to such topics as (for federal purposes) government employees insurance benefits, social security survivors’ benefits, bankruptcy, immigration, filing of joint tax returns, scope of laws protecting (heterosexual only) families of federal officers, financial aid eligibility laws, and federal ethics laws applying to heterosexual spouses.)

It is obvious why those seeking to redefine marriage and the family would want to have SCOTUS strike down this section of DOMA.

This bipartisanship was very evident in May 1996 when The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed Congress and the Senate by large majorities. This bipartisanship thus contributed to the DOMA being signed into law in September, 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It also defines “spouse” as a partner in a legally recognized heterosexual marriage.

Four out of the nine SCOTUS judges voted in favour of upholding Section 3 of the DOMA. Their position is very noteworthy since clearly, the other five judges misinterpreted part or all of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

All congressmen, senators, governors and mayors, of both parties, who were in favour of upholding the DOMA should have highlighted, locally and nationally, the position of the SCOTUS judges who voted for upholding the DOMA. They then should have considered using the vote of the four SCOTUS judges who also favoured upholding the DOMA, as the rallying cry for their upholding it in practice. This would not only be a case of the ultimate bipartisanship, it would also be a valid case of the end justifying the means.

By Edward Fagan