What is ‘just love’?

Jan 6, 2018 by

by Martin Barrett Davie:

The Ozanne Foundation’s strapline

A lot of organisations now have straplines which attempt to summarise what they stand for. Thus John Lewis uses ‘Never knowingly undersold,’ OFSTED ‘Raising standards – improving lives’ and the Church of England ‘A Christian presence in every community.’

The Ozanne Foundation, which supports the cause of LGBTI equality and which was launched amidst much publicity just before Christmas, has as its strapline ‘We believe in just love for all.’ This, it tells us, is what this new foundation stands for.

An important purpose of a strapline is to send out a positive message about the organisation that uses it in order to gain support for its activities. At first glance ‘We believe in just love for all’ succeeds in achieving this purpose because it sends out a message that resonates with two of the things that are almost universally accepted in our society. Almost everyone would say that they believe in the importance of love and the importance of justice. It would seem to follow that an organisation that indicates that it believes in both justice and love must be one that is worthy of support.

What is also important, however, is that a strapline should send a clear message about the beliefs and activities of the organisation concerned. Here the Ozanne Foundation is less successful because what it says is ambiguous. One the one hand, it could be saying that the Foundation believes in treating everyone with ‘just’ love, in the sense of nothing else but love. On the other hand it could be saying that it supports ‘just’ rather than ‘unjust’ love.

In the remainder of this article I shall explore these two ways of reading the Foundation’s strapline and explain why both of them, if taken seriously, actually undermine the very cause for which it stands.

Read here


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