Fighting the war on love and marriage

By Paul Schmitt

To newcomers and freshmen, a point of interest: How can a short walk of two blocks render images so juxtaposed? Those walking down Sixth Street will encounter a familiar scene in St. John’s austere marble-covered chapel. Continuing to journey northward renders another familiar scene: people in the lines of several campus bars spilling down the sidewalk, busy with chatter, cell phones and ATM trips.

Yet there’s something odd that you’ll notice in your collegiate time here; despite the inclement weather, the attire for many young women remains steadfast. Lower cuts, shorter shorts and higher heels despite rain, sleet or snow, in these outfits they will go. While this may be a stereotype I’ve conjured without warrant, it brings a question to my mind: Is this the beginning of a love story we will tell to our grandchildren?

Admittedly, the uniform at hand is blatantly appealing to those of its intended persuasion, but one can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t cheapen the wearer’s value to that of a physical object. In no manner would I begin in on any “man-hater” doctrine, whereas, I are one (sic). Yet, what is it that drives this ritual of scantily clad maidens? While the system of free drinks for women might be some form of watered-down, modernized chivalry, could it only be a symptom of a society that has forgotten how to love?

Much talk circles around the subject of America’s failed families, our failed marriages and the social trends and opinions that threaten those institutions. It’s the media! It’s the leftists! It’s Hollywood! Those, among other targets, receive blame for the fact that one of every two American marriages will fail, one of three children will be born into a single-parent household and that the family dinner table seems to be an alien concept. Although there are many excuses for why the nuclear family faces so many challenges, it is certain that we are in the middle of a war on love and marriage.

Is it the leftists? No, they get married too and function just as well at the rightists (see John Edwards versus Rush Limbaugh). Is it the media? Probably not – every time some celebrity gets married we have to hear about it for seven weeks. What about Hollywood? Despite horrible attacks on the sanctity of love and marriage like Ben Stiller’s “The Heartbreak Kid,” which aside from excessive nudity, overly foul language and a crude reference to bestiality, featured gags mocking the serious vows of marriage, I don’t blame Hollywood as the root evil.

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Perhaps our problems with love and marriage stem from a lack of understanding of the institution itself. Much talk circles on the thoughts of defining marriage as between a man and a woman via constitutional amendment. This concept only further destroys hope for marriage and love and will only prove to be counterproductive to the advocates’ collective cause. While a gay-marriage ban may seem like the logical next step for Christians and other concerned parities, we should ask ourselves, “Why is a secular government defining our sacred bonds?”

The perfect solution to broken marriages, complicated tax systems and heated equal-rights debates is to prevent the unnecessary feuds: Free a once culturally sacred and cherished sacrament from bureaucratic clutches; make the religious ceremony religious once more. Though the United States has a vested interest in strong, traditional families for its economic and social well-being, government involvement in “what defines a marriage” has only unnecessarily strained a great institution and has distorted our views on love to that of fair rights under tax codes.

Granted, this may not do enough to solve the ailing status of true love lost in a pessimistic era, but it’s a good first step. We, as Americans, must restore our traditionally strong family and the values that they protect – let marriage be our starting point. Besides, if all else fails we can go back to the old ways – soliciting drinks with cleavage and winks.