"All day long, some of them tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together, from all parts of the city, a multitude of those withered from famine, and distributed bread to them all."
At a recent event in Washington, D.C., San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone quoted from Eusebius, a historian who chronicled pagan Rome. Having Christians around (the "them" in the above quote,) wasn't the worst thing in the world. They'd stick around and care for you when you were sick and forgotten.
In today's outrage-fueled media cycle, human stories often get lost unless used they're for propaganda. This is a predominant reality of our current culture. We opine about decisions or activities without ever having facts. This is who we are as a tweeting, blogging, status-updating people.
And so during what has become an annual March for Marriage in our nation's capital, Cordileone made a plea: "Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings."
He was responding to a group of politicians and activists protesting his involvement in the march.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who took to excoriating Cordileone, too, might not agree, but her city's archbishop is worth taking a moment to listen to, whatever you make of the ongoing marriage debate.
At the event he also said: "Every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father. This is the great public good that marriage is oriented towards and protects. The question is then: does society need an institution that unites children to the mothers and fathers who bring them into the world, or doesn't it?"
That's not hate speech. That's taking a moment to pause and consider why government should have anything to do with marriage in the first place.