Pride month reflections

June is Gay Pride month. Nowadays, it is LGBT Pride Month, including trans folks. I understand why Pride Month exists. I want you to appreciate why it exists. And, I want to explain why I don’t like this word, “pride.”

I do not like it when people try to win an argument by being louder or bolder than the other guy or group. It does not matter who the person or group is, whether or not I am in agreement, screaming for attention rubs me very wrong. Yet, I understand the need for it.

People who believe they are being mistreated need to speak up for themselves because no one else is going to do it. In the history of my own Lutheranism, was it any different for Martin Luther to post his ninety-five theses, which was his personal crying out against what he saw was the mistreatment by his own Church, than for gays to protest? Did not the mainstream think he was on the fringes because of his views?

When homosexual sexual activity was illegal in the USA, one could make a case for gays and lesbians limiting their public activities of protest. Yes, they would want to petition and fight regarding that which they desired legalized. As Americans, this is their right to do so within the parameters of the law, regardless of one’s personal objections.

The big change in the land came in 2003, in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Lawrence v Texas. The Court struck down Texas’ sodomy law. By extension, it did the same in thirteen remaining states and effectively made legal same-sex sexual activity. In other words, one could now have legal homosexual relationships.

Transsexuality has a different history. It never has been illegal to get a “sex change.” The legal issues have involved things like birth certificates and in what sex the person would be identified after transitioning. Similarities with gays and lesbians have been regarding protections in the workplace and where one lives, and the like.

No matter how a citizen might feel about it, with the 2003 Supreme Court ruling the USA became duty-bound to protect the rights of gays and lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender folks. Hence, LGBT.

We all know how our legislative and court systems work: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Rarely will another squeak up for you, so you have to squeak up for yourself. The roots of LGBT Pride Month are found in the mid-1950s. As society opened up with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, “alternative” spokes-people found their voices. American culture continued forming itself into what we have today.

Laws always lag society so, even though LGBT folks have made great strides with both society and government, they believe important strides remain to be taken, as with gay marriage.

I hope that the US Supreme Court does not make gay marriage the law of the land, yet I believe all LGBT adults have the right to legal unions. As a Christian, I follow God’s Word on marriage: one man and one woman and nothing else. As an American, since LGBT relationships are legal, their rights as partners, in lawful united relationships, must be protected, equal with heterosexuals. It really is that simple.

So, I understand the need for speaking out. I appreciate the way the system works. Yet, I don’t want there to be a Gay Pride month. Or a Farmer’s Pride month. Or a Knitter’s Pride month. I don’t like those bumper stickers: “I am the proud parent of an A student.” Don’t get me started on chest-thumping cries of “proud to be an American.”

I cannot find a single biblical reference to pride and its synonyms which is good, except for those which point to the Lord Jesus, who merits lofty praise. With us regular Joes, pride points to oneself, and it usually comes at the expense of someone else. The essence of sin is self-centeredness, and pride loves to point its finger at itself: “Look at me! Look how great I am! Look how much better I am than you!”

Sure, I appreciate a person taking pride in his work, so long as it is not his ego which is speaking but his desire for doing things right and well. I’m not a total curmudgeon.

My problem is illustrated with the pendulum. I like to say that the pendulum never swings to the middle, but when it leaves one extreme it passes the middle and proceeds to the other extreme. A good example would be LGBT. For a long time, the pendulum was on the extreme end of silence and shame, no voice at all. As, in the 1950s, it began its swing, it passed the middle and has gone to the other extreme of loud and proud—and folks on the other end of the pendulum feel that LGBT folks are too loud and proud.

This is an extremely challenging essay for me to write. I long to be understood, to make an important point, and not to lose anyone on either end. I have feet in both camps these days. I don’t want to be kicked out of either one. I am the conflicting mix of traditional Christian and politically conservative who fully appreciates what LGBT folks are working so hard to accomplish.

Yet, I just plain hate pride. I don’t like “in your face” behavior, whether it is in a parade, or on a football field, or in a political debate, or among parents defending their kids. I want to see the parent’s car with this bumper sticker: “John Smith’s kids, whom I don’t even know, are honor students at XYZ School.” I want to be a person who has the fortitude to stick up for the rights of someone whose agenda is not mine, but his rights need supporting. It is easy to fight for something that I need, be it legislation, or a cure for a disease I have, or millage for the school my child attends. It is quite something else to get in line with others if their cause is not mine.

Ah, but we know human nature. If a person is going to be heard, he has to squeak up for himself. So, I get LGBT Pride Month. I acknowledge the need for it. I defend the rights of those who participate so long as they obey the law. I always want them, and anyone, to act respectably.

I hope I never feel the need to participate in it. I want to abide by my values and personality which find their form in God’s Word. I prefer to practice humility, to speak loudly by speaking gently. I pray that is what I have been doing with my essays and my life.

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2 thoughts on “Pride month reflections

  1. I think pastors SHOULD participate I. Pride marches. I absolutely see the need for pastors to walk beside their fellow men in Love. The church misses so many good opportunities because they don’t want to be seen as aligning with the community. When in fact, you never know who you could bring to Christ thru a simple conversation. Walking down the road. With a dude in a tutu.
    I realize this is not exactly what you meant by your statement, but it’s still truth.

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  2. I certainly agree with this: “I absolutely see the need for pastors to walk beside their fellow men in Love.” My profoundly strong feelings about all things dipped in pride – be it a gay person, or a farmer, or an athlete, or a pastor – I just can’t get behind big shows of pride. But, thank you, allthepretties, for your thoughtful comments.

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