It’s June. The next thirty days will now be given to celebrating LGBTQQCIAAPPP+% causes in our culture. A congregant asked me how we ought to respond to this Gay Pride Month.
Consider a comparison with another cultural party practice developed in this country, only in October rather than June. American Christians have long had a struggle with Halloween. Many have a queasy feeling about their kids dressing up like goblins and witches or otherwise finding joy in the darkness-es of night that inevitably get attached to the proceedings. The holiday has deep roots, probably dating back to Celtic ritual and certainly back to All Hallow’s Eve, when people would don superstitious dress as demons to frighten the demons away. As with convictions about Halloween, if you really believe that promoting practices outside of God’s marriage covenant and pushing identities founded in sexuality and subjective feeling are bad for people, you are in a pickle this month.
As we’ve seen with Halloween also, (at least) four different strategies present themselves to those who cannot agree that the cultural philosophy is good for people, and so cannot go along with the celebration. Which one do you favor?
Some believers have decided about Halloween that the cultural symbols no longer hold the same meaning or power that they once did. They don’t deny the reality of evil. It is just that symbolic meanings change through time. In our culture, they feel, Halloween has just become an excuse to have fun, especially for the kids. This position was hard for us to maintain as we raised our children in Greenwich Village, New York City because the night became more and more about debauchery in the streets. Perhaps it is different where you live. But does this strategy take seriously how Halloween night remains a night when devil worship intensifies? Many take the night to purposely schedule bad things. Witchery continues to ramp up as our culture continues its steady march to paganism. However, some Christians take this approach to Gay Pride month, claiming that it is a better ‘witness’ to enjoy the festivities and look for opportunity to dialogue. This seems to me a hard position to hold as the symbols speak so clearly. What the pride flag proclaims contradicts important truths.
Strategy #2: Try to ignore it.
This is like turning off all your house’s lights on Halloween, or vacating your home so no one comes up the front stoop for candy. This strategy was followed by generations of Christians who really couldn’t get into the holiday. Of course, besides the trouble of finding places open at night to host your family, this strategy always carried the side-effect of misinterpretation. It made you appear stingy and anti-candy. (Maybe being anti-candy isn’t such a mortal sin anymore). Some may be able to pull this off for Gay Pride Month, but if you are engaged in public business, ignoring becomes increasingly untenable.
Strategy #3: Make an alternative.
The popularity of Christian harvest festivals, or Reformation Day parties ensued. Martin Luther thankfully chose All Hallow’s Eve to nail his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door, thus providing a ready alternative reason to party. Such re-branding provided a convenient getaway for the Halloween harrowed, the Protestant ones at least. We could call it the Gregory-the-Great strategy. Perhaps Christians will similarly plan alternately-themed barbecues and pool plunges to enjoy the month of June. Maybe we can have a lot of weddings. Or a lot of births. Or if we can just find a great event from church history to commemorate…
Strategy #4: Refuse and Protest
Some now call for a public protest. One of the most articulate of those calls comes from the learned Carl R. Trueman in a recent World Magazine article. But Dr. Trueman’s frames his helpful analysis around the issue of control. His main, and first, points concern “who owns time and space” in our culture. Protesting for this reason, or leading with this as a cause or first thought, will derail us. Certainly, as Christians, loss of control of a culture should be the least of our worries. We have, or should have, the utmost confidence about Who is actually in control of anyone’s time and space. And we don’t need to care whether we are the ones holding the reins of power. We should reflect this in what we lead with, what we say, what we dwell on and especially what powers our protest. If even a whiff of a desire for domination comes across in our stand, even if it is not there in truth, we sink below the cause of Christ.
I agree that, depending on our positions of influence, silence is the wrong course. Instead, let us protest what is worthy of protest: the actual harms the LGBT movement brings upon people. Puberty blockers really do cause infertility. The unsubstantiated claims fed to parents that these measures are reversible, and even that they are effective in treating gender dysphoria and its comorbid conditions, are criminal. The $70,000 operations ruin children’s bodies. The cash register clinks as our children collapse. The allowance of psychologically disturbed men into sacred feminine provinces, like bathroom and sport, truly degrades women.
But the biggest loss in gay pride celebration, as I am wont to annoyingly repeat, is the loss of gender in relationship. Dr. Trueman is right to say that the movement “tears at God’s creation and…social stability.” Its de-humanization costs people years of their lives. The debilitation of their relationships, as they lose the ability to grow in intimacy, erases the very image of God in them. If we are to resist, these protests should front our resistance.
So this is a little more serious than what you will do on Halloween.
How will you respond this month?