Qui diligitis Dominum, odite malum
If you’re looking for a Latin aphorism to memorize, I recommend memorizing this. It is pithy and sweet. It has roots you’re likely to recognize in English words. It is a Bible verse, Psalm 96 (or 97 in the new translations). It would look proud and manly on a family seal, or appropriate on a patriarch’s tombstone.
“To love God, hate evil.” It is a command, but conveys a simple fact: To love God one must hate evil. The topic of hatred is taboo in Christian circles, though it should not be. If we do not hate evil, we are not serious about loving the good. Our modern society has a horrible attitude towards true, objective Christian love. But this attitude developed because we forgot how to hate.
I’ve had this in mind throughout much of “Pride Month.” Yesterday I was walking through the local library with my pregnant wife. The librarians had littered the wall with posters showing a bunch of crayons, and encouraging kids to be “colorful.” I live in a nice conservative area, and our local library can’t out and out groom children like they could in Minneapolis or St. Paul. This was a campaign just subtle enough to make you sound paranoid for protesting it, but so insidious that in five-years’ time a Children’s Drag Show would not seem so strange. It is clear that to properly love my unborn child, I need to grow stronger in my hate.
To hate is a very salutary thing, so long as you do it right. Hatred can be abused, but the same is true of love. Much of this abuse comes from the many definitions given to the word itself. To a Christian, love has a very specific meaning. It means to will the good of another. Love is not an emotion first and foremost, it is primarily an act of the intellect. The same is true of hatred. A man’s hatred should not be irrational any more than his love should be.
Modern society has tried to distort the meaning of love, but it has tried to completely eradicate any notion of hatred. The reason for this is clear. The modern notion of “love” is completely subjective. When at its most debased, it is a tool of marketing execs for selling sodomy and cereal. This is not the true nature of love at all. True love recognizes what is objectively good, and carries with it a desire to promote that good. And accordingly, to really love a good thing is to hate its contrary. It is love which makes us happy. It is hatred which makes us fight to defend that happiness and the good that causes it. A man builds a house to put the things he loves inside; he builds the walls around it because he hates the notion of losing those things. To demand that a man be ambivalent about what he loves is to demand that he not love at all.
You saw in the 1960s a great promotion of “all you need is love.” But much of the love-talk was, by itself, somewhat defensible, even when it was banal. More insidious was the notion that, as Marvin Gaye put it, “only love can conquer hate,” or the bogus Star Wars creed that “anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.” Within its historical context, it is really was apocalyptic; it presaged a coming rule of “love” which did not require defense. Of course, it was really just a way for hucksters like MLK to get Americans to let their defenses down.
But as anyone who has been in love knows, love and hatred are not opposites. It is like saying a sword and shield are opposed to each other because they have different roles. In debate, you often don’t know your own side until you are forced to defend it. The same is true with the things you love; you often don’t truly know why you love something until you are forced to defend it against something you hate. Love is an expansive feeling; hatred is clarifying. It makes you take account of what you are really prepared to suffer and fight for.
Your average Boomer is no subversive. He loves most everything his parents loved: His family, his religion, his country. The problem is that the Boomer forgot how to hate the forces attacking these things. Not only was he taught not to defend these high goods, he has largely forgotten what they really mean. The result is that family is now merely a legal concept; mainstream religion is largely an active attack on moral law; and our nation is a handful of documents and magic dirt. The Boomer lost the ability to hate, and now he doesn’t even know the things he loves.
Of course, to hate is the highest crime against the present regime. Committing treason is no barrier to success in this world, including holding nationwide office, but a “hate crime” will unperson you for the rest of your life. You can tell which side is the media’s favored one by the descriptions of who is driven by love and who is driven by hatred. There hasn’t been a conservative movement in the past century that has not been “hate driven,” even when that hatred is geared towards something as nebulous and stupid as change itself. Northern media were ecstatic about sharing what the Southern man hated. They would never tell you about the things he loved.
With all this said, it is never enough to hate alone. We must hate evil because we know and love what is good. We also cannot be irrational. You do not need to seethe with hatred over every transgression of the moral law you encounter. But you do have to acknowledge it is evil, and you must make a commitment, even if only in your mind, that you will do what you can to destroy that evil. You probably do not have the power to confront all the things you hate on your own. This should not discourage you; you should cherish your just hatred, just as you cherish your loves. Most of all, you must strive to do what the modern world thinks is impossible: To be full of both joy and hatred. We are united to God’s love when he hate what He hates, and this is the cause of great joy. It is true that “Love wins” in the end, but only because God is Love. Sodom will burn again.