There’s been a lot of fuss about Pride celebrations and observations lately. It scares me.
It scares me because people are taking their feelings and trying to pretend they’re something else. They’re taking something they don’t like about the LGBTQ2S+ community and trying to claim their dislike, distrust, or fear is based on their Christian faith. And to put it mildly, I think they’re wrong.
Pride is a celebration of the diversity of our community. It’s based on the fact that, whether you like it or not there are people around us who are gay, or lesbian, or gender-fluid, or transgender, or bisexual, or questioning, or wondering, or confused, or just plain different from you and me.
Pride is not about promoting anyone’s sexual agenda, it’s not about making a statement that you like everything any other person does, or even “approve” of it.
Pride isn’t about that at all. It’s about human rights.
Pride is about saying “you belong.”
Pride can even include a statement such as “I don’t understand who you are” or “I don’t understand what you do” or even “I don’t like what you do.” But at the end of it, pride includes the simple statement “but you have a right to exist as a human being, and I support that right.”
When a church hangs up a rainbow flag or some other declaration that they support Pride, they are not inherently saying anything about gay sex, or straight sex, or any kind of sex.
They’re simply saying “everyone has a right to live and breathe and simply be.”
Because God made us, and God declared us to be good, and God has repeatedly stated through the prophets and ultimately through Jesus that every person has a right to live a free, honest, and unencumbered life.
Every person has a right to live without the fear of being beaten up or worse just for being who they are.
Every person has a right to live a full life, and contribute to society, and enjoy the benefits of society, without the fear of being told “you don’t count” or “you’re not good enough” or “you don’t belong.”
So when people say things like “I don’t support Pride” or “I think Pride is morally wrong” or “I can’t wear a Pride symbol because my Christian faith doesn’t approve of it” they’re really saying something far more sinister.
They’re saying something quite evil. Even though Jesus loved everyone and welcomed everyone and made a point of telling the world that everyone was a child of God no matter what, they’re saying “I don’t believe it.”
They’re saying God’s creation of the world was somehow flawed.
They’re saying Jesus’ proclamation that God’s love was for everyone – a stance that ultimately got him killed – was false.
They’re saying they know better than the rest of us.
Worst still, they’re saying they know better than God.
And that’s where I get upset.
Because I don’t believe any of us have the right to say “I’m not going to think this or act this way because even though the Bible tells me repeatedly that God loves everyone, I don’t. I don’t love everyone. I don’t like some people, and I have the right to think that and believe that and act on that even though God says I don’t.”
Maybe it hasn’t occurred to you that that’s what Pride is about, but it should.
It should because people get beaten up, and spat upon, and even killed, because of who they are. And I defy you to find anything in scripture that says God would approve of that.
I’m not talking about trying to twist and squeeze things around to get them to support your point of view. I’m talking about finding that overall theme in the Bible. Go ahead and look if you want; you will not find it.
You will not find it because God is about love and justice, not putting others down.
God is about caring for the world and for our neighbours without conditions.
God is about sharing an unconditional and never-ending love with people who frantically need to hear of that.
So think carefully about Pride. Think carefully about your faith. Decide if declaring that all people are loved by God is a truth you want to proclaim and defend – as Jesus did – or if you want to declare your values to be greater than God’s. And be honest about it all.
Because claiming that you love everyone – but with some exceptions – has nothing to do with the God I worship.
My God repeatedly challenges me to love my neighbours, and to love my enemies, and to find ways to declare a love for all the world and to live that love every day.
That’s why I support Pride. That’s why I see in the rainbow an enduring symbol of God’s love for all people, and at the sane time I see a reminder of my obligation to proclaim that.
God expects no less of me.