Love is stronger than hate: Why Holy Week is the perfect time for marriage equality

“Holy Week” is when Christians remember the last days of Jesus of Nazareth, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through … Continued

“Holy Week” is when Christians remember the last days of Jesus of Nazareth, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. This week is central to the Christian calendar, and to a Christian theology that celebrates that love, despite all the harm human beings do to one another, is stronger than hate.

As a Christian minister and a theologian, I believe the deep meaning of Holy Week is that the love of God is, indeed, stronger than all the hate and violence that is so tragically rampant in human life.

This week as well, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases concerning marriage equality, that is, the basic right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to legally marry and receive all the legal recognition and benefits accorded married heterosexuals. SCOTUS has agreed to consider both the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and California’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8. The case at issue with DOMA is whether the federal government can deny federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples — benefits that are automatically granted to heterosexual couples. A decision on Proposition 8 could, in fact, establish that LGBT couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The prevailing wisdom is that the Supreme Court will rule narrowly, rather than broadly in these cases. The justices may, in the majority, be unwilling to rule decisively for full equality while attempting not to rule out the constitutionality of gay-marriage.

But because it is Holy Week when these cases will be argued, the extravagant impossible possibility of love triumphing over hate should give us hope for a sweeping win for equality in the most important civil rights cases in a generation.

I hope the Supreme Court will take a chance on the rising tide of love triumphing over hate in the United States as is shown in the fast-moving acceptance by the American people of marriage equality per recent Pew research.

As the greatest American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., advised, “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Hate is too great a burden to bear. Choose love instead. That is the message I will preach during Holy Week, and the message I hope the Supreme Court will hear from millions and millions of Americans.


Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology and immediate past President of Chicago Theological Seminary. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her most recent books are "#OccupytheBible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power" and, as contributor and editor, "Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War."
  • Apoorsinner

    I think it’s hateful to describe people who are against gay-marriage as “hateful.”

    There are many good reasons to oppose gay marriage, and none of them are “hateful.” They are logical, reasonable, thoughtful and historical, but not “hateful.”

    The fact that SBT and so many others describe those against gay marriage as “hateful” shows the danger of their assertion that gay marriage won’t harm or effect traditional marriage at all. The fact that those backing traditional marriage are now labeled “hateful” should show all of us where we will be placed if gay marriage is forced on all of us by the Supreme Court.

  • nkri401

    I think telling someone you are than less than I am is ipso facto at least hurtful if not hateful. If hurtful is OK with you, I guess I am too.

  • cricket44

    I’ve yet to see one intelligent or good reason to be against marriage equality. It’s not an either/or scenario. Backing marriage equality does NOT mean you are not backing men/women marriages. How silly.

    How is it not hateful to actively deny this status when there is no *logical* reason to do so?

    You will not be forced to marry anyone of the same sex.

    We’ve had marriage equality in MA for going on 9 years. Heterosexual marriages are still happening and the ones that have ended have NOT ended because of marriage equality. The sky has not fallen and the kids are alright.

    You don’t have to be comfortable with it to stay out of the way.

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