Over the years, the work of ADF has sometimes been labeled as “hate.” While we entirely reject that characterization, it raises much deeper issues about the nature of what hatred is and, more importantly, what love is.
Does our work to uphold free speech, religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and parental rights come from a place of deep-seated animus toward others? Quite the opposite. It is a deep love for all people that motivates our work, but it is a love that is often misunderstood because the nature of love is misunderstood.
True love differs significantly from the glossy ideals that saturate the modern world. Far too often, love is conflated with affirmation and agreement. If someone claims to “be” something, the “loving” thing to do is affirm “who they are.” The next “loving” thing is to agree with how they act in accordance with “who they are.” Indeed, such logic seems intuitive to most people.
But what if these self-made claims are faulty? Should love still compel us to affirm what is said and agree with its implications? Or is the loving thing to take a different approach—one that seeks truth and the good of the person over superficial agreement?
True love isn’t a mere verbal affirmation or a superficial promise to blindly support every decision someone makes. It’s a devotion that runs deeper, caring for the whole person. This love is not about material desires or fleeting passions. Instead, it is embodied in the weight of the cross that Jesus bore, a love that gives of oneself for the good of another.
It is a love that transcends agreement. Scripture instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves, even those we disagree with, going so far as to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us, and to pray for those who abuse us. (Mark 12:31, Luke 6:27-28).
It is a love that transcends barriers. It extends to any person irrespective of their circumstances or who they are, but such love will always seek the genuine good of the person being loved.
And there’s the rub.
People’s definitions of “good” have changed. But today’s conceptions of “good” sometimes do not align with what is best for our well-being.
Because of this, when Christians love in the way Jesus commanded us to love, we may be met with adversity. Unjust labels are thrown around, ironically branding those who stand for the truth as purveyors of hatred. Yet our mission is born from God’s love. We’re here to love those who disagree with us or treat us poorly. And sometimes that means telling them the truth with kindness.
In a world that pushes everyone to be self-centered, real selfless love shines all the brighter. Genuine love encourages and builds up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It’s not just lip service that claims affection regardless of one’s choices. It’s a love that seeks the good of the other, even when that might cause us to be hated or called hateful.
Our work is not born out of hate. It’s ignited by an unyielding love for our neighbor. Every day, we take a stand not against individuals, but against the injustices that threaten us all. When we defend free speech, we are defending everyone’s right to speak freely without coercion or censorship. When we defend religious freedom, we are defending everyone’s right to believe and live out their faith. When we defend life, we are defending the sanctity and value of every life, born and unborn. We’ve chosen to stand on the front lines for everyone who craves a world illuminated by truth and goodness.
Our definition of love is not confined to sophomoric slogans like “love is love.” Love empowers, uplifts, and drives change. It refuses to be passive, demands action, and stands unwavering in the face of adversity. Together, we move toward a victory that transcends perceptions, guided by the boundless love that Jesus embodied.